June 21, 2007, 8:00 a.m.
Our Terrorists Are Better Than Your Terrorists
Supporting Fatah, the Bush administration makes a deal with the devil.
By Andrew C. McCarthy
President Bush’s stirring post-9/11 message that regimes the world over have to choose between aligning with civilization or with terrorists should officially be interred in war-torn “Palestine.” Seriousness about the doctrine is the only realistic way to defeat our enemies, and now we make a mockery of it. A mockery built on the trifecta-fiction that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is an avatar of peace, that his Fatah faction has aligned with civilization, and that the Palestinian people — the ones who freely chose to install Hamas as their parliamentary majority and who have trademarked “Intifada” as an instrument of statecraft — are somehow worth prostituting ourselves over.
In the Palestinian civil war, the Bush administration has unabashedly cast its lot with Fatah. The United States, in the midst of its own global war against Islamic radicalism, is promising additional millions in foreign aid for a cabal which maintains its own jihadist wing, and which is so thoroughly corrupt — having pocketed much of the foreign aid billions that poured in over the last two decades — that Palestinians opted for the more transparent Hamas terrorists when given the option.
Fatah is the creation of the late terror master, Yasser Arafat. It is currently led by Abbas, formerly Arafat’s close aid. When last we left Abbas, the administration’s favorite “moderate,” he was laying a wreath at The Great Man’s grave — the Palestinians, by the way, have turned the site into an Arafat shrine, telling us everything we need to know about them.
Abbas proceeded to urge a throng of 50,000 Palestinians to re-aim their guns at the “occupation” (that would be Israel) instead of turning them on each other: “[W]ith the will and determination of its sons, Fatah has and will continue,” he brayed. “We will not give up our principles and we have said that rifles should be directed against the occupation…. We have a legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation….”
That was less than six months ago — despite administration assertions on Monday that Abbas is “a partner who is committed to peace.” And none of it was a surprise. When Abbas was seeking election in 2005, he declared to a cheering mob in Gaza that Palestinian terrorists being sought by Israel were “heroes fighting for freedom.”
And just what are these Fatah principles that the moderate was referring to at the founder’s tomb? Abbas’s American boosters don’t talk about them much, but Fatah itself is not so bashful. They are spelled out, for all to see, in the Constitution of Fatah (the name, by the way, means “Conquest” … and would anyone want to take a wild guess against whom?).
Here is what we’re getting for millions in U.S. taxpayer dollars:
… We all must sacrifice ourselves, our effort and time; these are the weapons of honest patriots. Don’t, therefore, dear brother bring your march to a halt! Proceed in your march, armed with the patriots’ resolution, the true believers’ determination, and the fighters’ patience… Let’s not forget for a while that our enemy is strong, and that the fight is fierceful [sic] and long… Consequently, determination, patience, confidentiality, commitment, and abiding by the revolution’s goals and principles keep our march unremittingly steady and makes [sic] our road to victory much shorter. Proceed, then my brother, forward… to the revolution. Long live Palestine, a free Arab state.
“FATEH” is a national, revolutionary movement and its membership is top confidential. … The Palestinian struggle is part and parcel of the world-wide struggle against Zionism, colonialism and international imperialism. … The Zionist Movement is racial, colonial and aggressive in ideology, goals, organisation and method. … The Israeli existence in Palestine is a Zionist invasion with a colonial expansive base, and it is a natural ally to colonialism and international imperialism. … Liberating Palestine and protecting its holy places is an Arab, religious and human obligation. … Palestinian National Liberation Movement, “FATEH”, is an independent national revolutionary movement representing the revolutionary vanguard of the Palestinian people. … The crowds which participate in the revolution and liberation are the proprietors of the Palestinian land.
[Our “Goals” include:] Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence. … Establishing an independent democratic state with complete sovereignty on all Palestinian lands, and Jerusalem is its capital city[.] …
(Bold in original, emphasis in bold-italics added.)
Sure, Fatah, like Arafat, makes the occasional feint at peace-making, or, to be more precise, at the “Peace Process,” invoking the biggest snow-job of all time — one that enriched Fatah leaders with piles of cash while “the Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence” received the bulging body-count of a second Intifada™.
But we oughtn’t be fooled: Fatah is still avowedly dedicated to the destruction of its neighbor (or, by Fatah’s lights, its trespasser) by any means necessary, including terrorizing, inducing outside political pressure on, and gradually out-breeding the Israelis. For the purpose, Fatah-controlled school systems and media continue without surcease to inculcate a virulently anti-Semitic martyrdom culture in the young. (See, e.g., this report from Palestinian Media Watch on the stunning curriculum through which Fatah, in the rhetoric of radical Islam, delegitimizes Israel and Jews.)
And, of course, Fatah maintains its own terrorist wing, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, in addition to maintaining close ties to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror organization — both of which are Iran-friendly, Hezbollah-friendly, and formally designated as foreign terrorist organizations by the United States.
These ties put the lie to the myth that Fatah is a moderate political movement that is secular in nature. Yes, Fatah is not a self-identified Muslim fundamentalist movement as Hamas is. But it demonstrates vibrant streaks of Islamic radicalism, as illustrated, for example, by its Brigades named for the al-Aqsa mosque in coveted Jerusalem, and the frequent admonitions on Fatah websites that prying that city from Zionist clutches is a religious obligation.
The terror ties also reveal the illogic of the Bush administration rationale (echoed in a recent National Review Online editorial, here) that Fatah, whatever its flaws, merits our support because its rival, Hamas, is in the pocket of Iran. There are divisions within Fatah, and it may be freely conceded that some of them, historically, have been anti-Iranian. But, on balance, Fatah’s ties to Iran are longstanding, and operational. It is no wonder that the al-Aqsa Brigades, beneficiaries of Iranian largesse, speak glowingly of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his call to wipe Israel off the map.
Fatah may not love Iran, but it will work with Iran. After all, it has a lot more in common with the mullahs than it does with us — beginning, of course, with their mutual goal of eliminating our ally, Israel. The wager that, if Fatah ultimately beats back Hamas, Iran will have suffered a serious set-back is wishful thinking, not strategy. What Iran cares most about is Israel, not Hamas. To terrorize Israel it will work with whoever is left standing.
Finally, even if, with several grains of salt, we were to accept the stop-Iran line of argument as well as the party line that Abbas himself has evolved into a trustworthy peace partner, there is still the 800-pound gorilla in the equation: the Palestinian people.
Such is the delusional U.S. looking-glass on Palestinian society that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the administration’s staunchest Abbas booster, told columnist Cal Thomas last October, “[Y]ou can look at any opinion poll in the Palestinian territories and 70 percent of the people will say they’re perfectly ready to live side by side with Israel because they just want to live in peace.”
Come again? As it happens, recent polling actually turns out to be more reflective of common sense, which says that when you systematically rear a people on hatred and a cult of death, as Fatah has been so instrumental in doing, they grow up to be hateful and instinctively resort to savagery to settle their disputes.
Thus we find that up to 93 percent of young Palestinian adults (aged 18 to 25) deny Israel’s right to exist — as compared with “only” 75 percent when the total population is factored in. Thus we find, moreover, that when not brutalizing Israelis, Palestinians now brutalize each other. The cold truth is exactly the opposite of the idyllic picture painted by the administration — and given the bile that Abbas’s Fatah spoon-feeds Palestinian children, how on earth could it be otherwise?
Why is the administration supporting Fatah without demanding that it shred its Constitution and unambiguously recognize Israel’s right to exist, as Israel, in perpetuity? Why isn’t President Bush demanding that Abbas not only order the disarming of Hamas in the West Bank (which Abbas did only because Hamas is fighting Fatah, not because Hamas is a terrorist organization), but that he also disarm the al-Aqsa Brigades and Palestinian Islamic Jihad? Because Abbas would be finished the minute he tried any such things. They are not what Palestinians want.
The Palestinians are a backward people, indoctrinated toward brutality. They don’t rate a sovereign state or anyone’s help until they civilize themselves. Sovereignty is a privilege that implies acceptance of civilized norms — that is why we speak of states like Iran and North Korea as “rogues.” Regardless of whether there really are scattered Palestinian moderates, it is a dangerous fantasy to assume the Palestinian people, as a whole, are ready to be anyone’s peace partner.
We are enabling their hatred when we provide support without insisting that the Palestinian people — not just Abbas and Fatah, but the people — convincingly foreswear revolution, terrorism, violence, ethnic-cleansing, and the goal of eliminating Israel. We are a generation or more, at least, from any hope of such developments. In the meantime, as long as we subsidize the hatred, we shall be buying more of it, while giving the Palestinians no incentive to reform.
— Andrew C. McCarthy directs the Center for Law & Counterterrorism at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.