Oct 22, 2021
JERUSALEM WEATHER

Share this article
  • To create an excuse to cancel the PA elections, Fatah has set two preconditions Israel can’t possibly agree to:

    • Imprisoned terrorists should be allowed to vote

    • Voting should also take place in Jerusalem

Fatah, the party of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, has laid the foundation stones to cancel the first Palestinian elections to be held in over 15 years.

In order to avoid being seen as the one who canceled the elections for fear of losing, Fatah has set two preconditions for holding the elections that its leaders and members hope Israel will reject. When Israel then rejects the preconditions, Abbas will claim that he was forced to cancel the elections because Israel prevented them from being held.

The last elections for PA Chairman were held in 2005, and for the Palestinian Parliament in 2006. The upcoming elections were forced upon Abbas by the United States and the European Union with the intention of promoting democracy and giving legitimacy to the Palestinian leadership.

Intentions aside, as the date set for the elections draws near, the US, the EU, and Fatah have real and increasing fear that Fatah will lose the elections to its main rival, Hamas, which both the US and the EU have designated a terror organization. Politically, Abbas cannot be seen as the one canceling the elections for fear of losing to Hamas.

Laying the groundwork for the possibility of canceling the elections, Fatah is demanding that Israel agree to the elections being held in Jerusalem and that the terrorists serving prison sentences in Israel’s prisons be allowed to vote.

Voting in Jerusalem

Fatah’s position of holding the elections in Jerusalem was expressed in a radio interview later posted by Fatah on its official Facebook page. In the interview, Fatah Central Committee member and Head of Civil Affairs in the PA Hussein Al-Sheikh claimed that “Israel has no right to refuse” holding the elections in Jerusalem:

Al-Alam radio host: “[Regarding PA] elections without Jerusalem – what will happen if Israel refuses to hold these elections in Jerusalem?”

Al-Sheikh: “We still hold the same position. It is not a slogan, but rather a clear and strategic position. Under no circumstances will we agree to hold these elections without there being participation in representation and submitting candidacy- in other words, in voting and submitting candidacy.”

Host: “If so, what will happen if after the Israeli elections Israel says that it rejects having these elections held in Jerusalem? What are our options?”

Al-Sheikh: “I think that the Palestinian decision is absolute, and Israel has no right to refuse to hold internal Palestinian elections [in Jerusalem]. There is absolutely nothing that gives Israel authority for this.”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, March 22, 2021]

Fatah’s Facebook page reinforced the message with clear imagery:

Text below the image of the Dome of the Rock: “#There_will_be_no_elections_without_Jerusalem”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, March 31, 2021]

The image shows a drawing of a map of Israel with the Gaza Strip and West Bank in a different color than the rest, of the map and hands protruding from them holding a sign.

Text on sign: “There will be no [PA] elections without Jerusalem”     [Official Fatah Facebook page, March 31, 2021]

Official Fatah Spokesman Hussein Hamayel ramped up the rhetoric claiming that Fatah sees the elections “as a battle with the Israeli occupation” and as a matter of Palestinian “sovereignty”:

“In response to those who want to fish in murky waters and pass around stories in order to pressure the Palestinian leadership so there will be elections outside of [Jerusalem], our response in Fatah is that it isn’t a matter of getting [more] votes, as there are many ways and the world of technology enables us to do this, but we consider this a matter of our sovereignty and our ideology in our city, and we will not agree to the belittlement of any one of our principles whose center and basis is Jerusalem.”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, April 17, 2021]

The 1995 Oslo Israel-Palestinian Peace agreements did allow for Palestinian elections to be held in Jerusalem. In the agreements, the Palestinians committed themselves to combatting terror. In breach of this commitment, the PA is allowing all the so-called “Palestinian factions” to participate in the upcoming elections. The “factions” include both Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), both of which are designated as terror organizations by Israel, the US, and the EU. As Palestinian Media Watch recently exposed, the electoral lists of both these terror organizations include convicted terrorists, including murderers serving life sentences.

Holding PA elections in Jerusalem means that Israel would have to agree to allow two designated terrorist organizations, who have cumulatively carried out thousands of terrorist attacks against Israel and are responsible for the murder of hundreds of Israelis, to actively run for election. Agreement of this nature would directly breach, inter alia, Israel’s 2016 Anti-Terror Law.

Participation of the imprisoned terrorists

On the subject of the participation of the imprisoned terrorists in the elections, Al-Sheikh was equally unequivocal:

Host: “You have asked Israel to let the prisoners vote?”

Al-Sheikh: “Unfortunately on this issue as well we have not received any response from the Israeli side, and we are still insisting on our request. These are Palestinian citizens who are in the Israeli occupation’s prisons by force, and it is their right to realize their civic duty – to vote and to submit their candidacy for the elections.”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, March 22, 2021]

Fatah’s Fatah Commission of Information and Culture Facebook page added posts of imprisoned terrorists, ostensibly expressing their intention to vote for Fatah.

One of them is Thaer Hammad, who murdered 10:

Text on image: “I am a son of Fatah, and I will applaud none but it. I am committed to the decisions of Fatah’s bodies and to Fatah’s one and only [election] list. This is a revolution until victory. Prisoner leader Thaer Hammad   #I_will_vote – Fatah”

[Facebook page of the Fatah Commission of Information and Culture,
April 4, 2021]

Another is terrorist Fuad Al-Shubaki, a senior PA official who orchestrated the donation by Iran of tens of tons of weapons and tried to smuggle them into Gaza on the ‘Karine A’ ship:

Posted text: “We learned what absolute love of devotion and loyalty to this revolution is… A magnificent and great movement like the Fatah Movement – people tip their hats to it and nod to it…  Prisoner leader Fuad Al-Shubaki    #I_will_vote – Fatah”

[Facebook page of the Fatah Commission of Information and Culture,
April 4, 2021]

Needless to say, Israel has no obligation to allow Palestinian terrorists to vote in the PA elections. Moreover, Israel has no obligation to allow Palestinian election officials to enter the Israeli prisons in order to allow the prisoners to vote.

In the meantime, and until Abbas decides to postpone the elections, Fatah has been campaigning for votes using its strongest message: Its historical participation in terror against Israel:

The image shows a Fatah rally in which participants are waving Palestinian flags, a poster of former PLO and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat, and yellow Fatah flags.

Posted text: “#I_will_vote_for_Fatah

Fatah has always been the mother with bountiful love, not only for members of its organization, but rather for all members of its people. It is the one that actually lit the torch of the revolution at the start of 1965 (bombing of Israel’s National Water Carrier, Fatah’s first terror attack -Ed.) only for the sake of [its people] and for the sake of their freedom, their greatness, their national honor, and the restoration of all their legitimate rights.”

[Facebook page of the Fatah Movement – Nablus Branch, March 15, 2021]

The following are longer excerpts of the articles quoted above:

Interview with Fatah Central Committee member and Head of Civil Affairs in the PA Hussein Al-Sheikh on the Hebron radio station Al-Alam:

Al-Alam radio host: “[Regarding PA] elections without Jerusalem – what will happen if Israel refuses to hold these elections in Jerusalem?”

Al-Sheikh: “We still hold the same position. It is not a slogan, but rather a clear and strategic position. Under no circumstances will we agree to hold these elections without there being participation in representation and submitting candidacy- in other words, in voting and submitting candidacy.”

Host: “Yes. To be honest, we understood that the response will be after the Israeli elections. Have you contacted the Israeli side regarding this matter in particular and what was the nature of the response?”

Al-Sheikh: “Yes. There is an official letter that we addressed to the Israeli side. According to the agreements, we informed them that the Palestinian National Authority is going to hold presidential and parliamentary elections, and we are waiting for a response. This is similar to what occurred previously in 1996, 2005, and 2006. [As for] the Israeli response, as of this moment [there is none, and] there will be no response before the Israeli elections and the formation of a new government in Israel.”

Host: “If so, what will happen if after the Israeli elections Israel says that it rejects having these elections held in Jerusalem? What are our options?”

Al-Sheikh: “I think that the Palestinian decision is absolute, and Israel has no right to refuse to hold internal Palestinian elections [in Jerusalem]. There is absolutely nothing that gives Israel authority for this.”

Host: “You have asked Israel to let the prisoners vote. Is there progress on the issue?”

Al-Sheikh: “We have not received any response from the Israeli side, and we are still insisting on our request. These are Palestinian citizens who are in the Israeli occupation’s prisons by force, and it is their right to realize their civic duty – to vote and to submit their candidacy in the elections.”

Al-Alam radio host: “Answer just ‘possible” or “impossible’: Cancelling the elections?”

Al-Sheikh: “Impossible! …”

Host: “Reconciliation with [former Fatah member Muhammad] Dahlan?”

Al-Sheikh: “Impossible.”

Host: “Forming a government without Hamas?”

Al-Sheikh: “Impossible.”

Host: “Expelling other members of the Fatah Movement who are liable to form [independent election] lists or join other lists?”

Al-Sheikh: “Everyone who leaves Fatah is out – possible.”

Host: “Marwan Barghouti (i.e., terrorist murderer) dealing with an identical fate to that of Nasser Al-Qidwa (i.e., expelled from Fatah) in the presidential elections?”

Al-Sheikh: “Completely impossible, because I trust my brother Marwan.”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, March 22, 2021]

Marwan Barghouti– Palestinian terrorist and member of the PA parliament who orchestrated three shooting attacks in which 5 people were murdered: one attack on the Jerusalem-Maale Adumim road (June 12, 2001) in which Greek Orthodox monk Tsibouktsakis Germanus was murdered by terrorists Ismail Radaida and Yasser Ah’Rabai, another attack at a gas station in Givat Zeev near Jerusalem (Jan. 15, 2002) in which Yoela Hen was murdered by terrorists led by Mohammed Matla, and one shooting and stabbing attack at the Seafood Market restaurant in Tel Aviv (March 5, 2002) in which Eli Dahan, Yosef Habi, and Police Officer Sergeant-Major Salim Barakat, were murdered by terrorist Ibrahim Hasouna. When arrested by Israel in 2002, Barghouti headed the Tanzim (Fatah terror faction). After he was convicted and imprisoned, he was re-elected as a member of the Palestinian Authority parliament. On Dec. 4, 2016, he was elected to Fatah’s Central Committee. Barghouti is serving 5 life sentences.

Nasser Al-Qidwa – Chairman of the PA-supported Yasser Arafat Foundation and former Fatah Central Committee member. Al-Qidwa was dismissed from Fatah by Fatah Chairman Abbas on March 11, 2021, after Al-Qidwa announced he was forming a separate list for the upcoming PA elections.

Interview with Official Fatah Spokesman Hussein Hamayel

“[Official Fatah Spokesman Hussein] Hamayel said that the Fatah Movement is treating these [PA] elections as a battle with the Israeli occupation in Jerusalem and in all areas of the homeland. We will take our right by holding the elections in the capital in spite of the occupation…

Jerusalem is the center of all Palestinian activity, and we will not agree to there being an option, small or large, that will reduce our sovereignty over this city, which is the symbol and pinnacle of our honor with its mosques and its churches.

In response to those who want to fish in murky waters and pass around stories in order to pressure the Palestinian leadership so there will be elections outside of [Jerusalem], our response in Fatah is that it isn’t a matter of getting [more] votes, as there are many ways and the world of technology enables us to do this, but we consider this a matter of our sovereignty and our ideology in our city, and we will not agree to the belittlement of any one of our principles whose center and basis is Jerusalem.”

[Official Fatah Facebook page, April 17, 2021]