Voices of Palestine: Nabil Shaath

What "moderate" Palestinians say when they think the West isn't listening.

Editor’s note: Below is the latest profile of Frontpage’s new series, “Voices of Palestine,” which will illuminate the core beliefs, in their own words, of leading figures in the Palestinian death cult. Click the following to view the profiles of Ahmad BahrMahmoud al-ZaharIbrahim MudayrisYasser GhalbanHaj Amin al-HusseiniWafa al-BisMahmoud AbbasAhlam Tamimi, Yassir Arafat (Part I and Part II), Abdallah JarbuSheik Ismail Aal RadhwanAbdel Aziz Rantisi, Yunis Al-AstalFathi HamadKhaled Mash'alIsmail Haniya and Abbas Zaki.

Nabil Shaath is a senior Palestinian leader who has held several influential positions in the Palestinian Authority (PA): chief negotiator, cabinet minister, Palestinian International Co-operation Minister, Planning Minister for the PA, and Acting Prime Minister of the PA. Born in 1938 in Safed, British Mandate of Palestine, Shaath joined the terrorist Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1970. He became head of the PLO Planning Center from 1971-1981, and in 1974 he accompanied Yasser Arafat in the first PLO delegation to the United Nations. He is currently a member of the Fatah Central Committee in charge of International Relations, where he often is portrayed as a "moderate." Evidence presented here demonstrates he is not.

Despite all misinformation to the contrary, the futility of negotiations between the Arab-Palestinians and the Israelis hinges on the Palestinians' categorical rejection of Israel's right to exist; certainly not as a Jewish state. Second, the Palestinians remain steadfastly committed to the annihilation of Israel and its replacement with an Islamic Arab Judenrein, as most recently represented by the attempted reconciliation between Fatah and the genocidal terrorist organization Hamas. Hamas's founding charter not only calls for the destruction of Israel, but also the genocide of all Jews.

Although the fact fails to be acknowledged by some, the so-called "moderate" Fatah party leading the PA shares Hamas's objectives, and Shaath's own words expose this common cause. "The Palestinian Authority will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state," he declared on September 8, 2010. "Such a declaration would directly threaten the Muslims and Christians in Israel and prevent Palestinian refugees, who left their homes and villages a number of decades ago, from being granted the right to return to them," he added. The "right of return" that Shaath mentions is little more than a tactic to demographically destroy the Jewish character of Israel.

On July 13, 2011, Shaath made where he stands even clearer in an ANB TV (Lebanon) interview. (This was when hopes were still high among Palestinians that they could get the United Nations to recognize their independence unilaterally). "At the end of the day, we want to exert pressure on Israel in order to force it to recognize us and leave our country," he said. "This is our long-term goal."

But what exactly does Shaath mean by "leave our country"? Shaath answered this question clearly by declaring in a television interview that the "French initiative reshaped the issue of the Jewish State into a formula that is also unacceptable to us--two states for two peoples. They can describe Israel itself as a state for two peoples, but we will be a state for one people. The story of two states for two peoples means that there will be a Jewish people over there and a Palestinian people here. We will never accept this." In other words, a one-state solution, without Israel.

During an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on September 26, 2011, Shaath once again revealed his views regarding the Jewish State. When he was reminded that the "Quartet" of peace negotiators (the U.S., European Union, Russia and the United Nations) and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu insisted on negotiations without pre-conditions, Shaath focused exclusively on Natanyahu. "Yes he can afford to say that," Shaath remarked. "He has been in full occupation of our country for years, 62 years." That is to say, the entire existence of Israel is an "occupation." On the other hand, he was more deceptive when he was reminded that, despite his contention that the PA recognizes Israel's right to exist, it is attempting to reconcile with Hamas, whose charter calls for Israel's destruction. "Well I don't know about Hamas and I don't know about charters...we are not particularly interested in charters, we are interested in what people do on the ground."

For the record, the latest events "on the ground" included Hamas once again firing five Kassam rockets into Israel late last week, followed by two more containing phosphorus, after Israel attacked the original rocket launchers. Since the Israelis unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, more than 7,000 rockets and mortars have been fired into Israel. Furthermore, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) estimates Israel is likely to come under fire from 8,000 rockets and missiles if war breaks out this year.

As for Hamas and its potential reconciliation with Fatah--a deal-breaker regarding any peace agreement--Shaath remains equally obstinate. Last May, he said that Hamas should not be asked to recognize Israel. "Many others agree with us that the old rules of the quartet were not logical, and are not workable," Shaath said. "They have no place" in the current formula anymore. "Stop asking Hamas," he added. During the same interview with Israel Radio, Hamas deputy foreign minister in Gaza, Razi Hamed, claimed Hamas wants peace, but that "the occupation is the root of all [the Palestinians'] problems." He contended that peace can only be realized by a Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital, and the ability of all Palestinian refugees to "return to their homes" in Israel.

Despite this non-starter, an effort was made by Shaath as recently as last Sunday to continue reconciliation efforts with Hamas. He contends that Hamas is "moderating its positions" due to the weakening of the Syrian government that has long supported the terrorist organization. He went so far as to label Khaled Mashaal, leader of Hamas’s military wing, the "dove in Hamas.”

Thus, despite all the rhetoric about the peace process, it remains clear that the only "peace" the Palestinians are interested in is one that completely excludes Israel's existence and/or its ability to defend itself. Despite this, a meeting was held yesterday between Palestinian and Israeli peace negotiators for the first time in more than a year. True to form, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas threatened to take "harsh" measures against Israel if they didn't meet his conditions for resuming negotiations, even as Hamas called on Abbas to cancel the meeting. In Gaza, Hamas leader Ismail al-Ashqar warned that if talks continue, they would "totally blow up the Palestinian reconciliation."

As for Shaath, he remains duplicitous. Speaking with Wolf Blitzer on September 21st, he contended that Palestinians are "subject to occupation, and we want it to end in order to be in peace with Israel, as neighbors, two states side by side." This completely contradicts what he said during the interview on Lebanon TV earlier in the year. Why the difference? In the former interview he was speaking in Arabic, the latter, English. Former colleague and PLO head Yasser Arafat was a master of such double-speak.

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