Fatah: Return Jerusalem before talks go on

Palestine laughs at the thought of peace with Israel. Demanding the impossible is a sure way to keep the fight going.

fatah_logoThe Jerusalem Post…The sixth Fatah General Assembly decreed on Saturday that the return of both east and west Jerusalem to Palestinian control was a “red line” which was non-negotiable, and would need to be fulfilled before any peace talks with Israel could renew, Israel Radio reported.

According to the report, a document adopted by the Fatah delegates of the assembly declared that Palestinians would “continue to be sacrificed until residents of Jerusalem are free of settlements and settlers.” The document went on to state that all of Jerusalem, including the surrounding villages, belonged to the Palestinians, and lands conquered following the Six Day War shared the same status as those located within the Green Line.

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz blasted the statement Saturday, saying that the declaration was a clear message to all those who maintained the “illusion that the Palestinians were prepared for compromise,” Israel Radio reported.

Israel should take legal steps in response to the decree, Israel Radio quoted the minister as saying. According to the report, he urged the government to expand the municipal authority of Jerusalem to include Ma’aleh Adumim, Givat Ze’ev, Gush Etzion, and Beitar. In addition, Katz encouraged further construction in surrounding neighborhoods so as to increase Jewish presence in the city.

Also at the conference on Saturday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was named head of Fatah.

“This convention must be a new beginning for the Fatah movement,” said Abbas to thunderous applause. “In our history we’ve had many launches and setbacks. Sometimes we have reached the edge of the abyss – but we have always returned stronger,” he said.

Hundreds of delegates cheered and clapped as senior Fatah official Tayib Abdul Rahim announced that Abbas was chosen to lead the party. There was no vote because no other candidate came forward to challenge Abbas’ five-year rule.

Technically Abbas can only lead the party for five years, until a new conference is announced, but this is the first time Fatah members have met in 20 years and it is not clear when they will convene again.

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