Here’s how Haaretz’s Avi Issacharoff reported on the Fatah conference earlier this month in Bethlehem:
President Mahmoud Abbas says his people must not “mar their legitimate struggle with terror” and that while his government seeks peace with Israel, it reserves the right to resort to “resistance.” […]
“Although peace is our choice, we reserve the right to resistance, legitimate under international law,” Abbas said in a policy speech, using a term that encompasses armed confrontation with Israel and non-violent protests.
Colette Avital, in the Jerusalem Post:
[Fatah’s] Bethlehem platform calls for “resistance by all legitimate means,” and leaves out the option of armed struggle.[…]
Abbas himself made his position very clear: “We must not stain our legitimate struggle with terror,” he said.
Here’s how The New Republic puts it:
What Fatah’s Defense Of Terrorism Means for Israel (8/20/09)
TNR contributing editor Yossi Klein Halevi reveals a variety of troubling details surrounding the Fatah convention in Bethlehem last week, arguing that the Palestinian faction’s alleged “right to terrorism”…
It is true that Fatah reaffirmed their right to armed struggle — a right retained by all people who suffer under foreign military occupation, as the Palestinians do. This is not synonymous with terrorism, Halevi’s flat assertion that it is simply a “code word” (and TNR’s misleading quotation marks) notwithstanding. As both Issacharoff and Avital report, but for some reason Halevi ignores, the conference ended with Fatah (again) choosing to abjure violence in favor of negotiation. This is a good thing, isn’t it?