Fatah: Eject the traitors from your ranks

The recent revelations by an Israeli journalist about a secret meeting between high-ranking Palestinian security chiefs and the commanders of the Israeli occupation army, which reportedly took place at the Jewish colony of Beit El near Ramallah in September, has shocked the Palestinian community here.  According to Israeli journalist Nahom Barnea, the Palestinian officers told their Israeli “colleagues” that “we have no conflict” and that “we have only one common enemy which is Hamas.”  Barnea also revealed that Palestinian security chiefs, whom he mentioned by name, asked their “Israeli colleagues” to “equip us with weapons” in order to “re-conquer Gaza.”  Barnea, who attended the meeting after receiving the Palestinian participants’ consent, reported that the Palestinians sought to impress the Israeli security chiefs by briefing them on aggressive measures the PA security agencies had been carrying out against Hamas’ civilian infrastructure, including charities and civil society organizations.  The Palestinian security chiefs even bragged about raiding mosques as part of their efforts to hound and harass Hamas.

Interestingly, reports and comments on the “Beit El meeting” were censored by the PA-run and PA-influenced media, including the three main daily newspapers, Al-Quds, al-Ayyam, and al-Hayatul Jadida as well as by the European-funded Maan News Agency, which has been effectively taken over by the Fatah organization.  Indeed, had it not been for the coverage of the event by some foreign-based satellite TV stations such as al-Jazeera as well as some internet sites, most Palestinians here wouldn’t have heard about that meeting.  The Beit El scandal is most likely just one of many meetings of “security coordination” between the PA and Israel. Indeed, one could argue with little exaggeration that the Palestinian security agencies have been more or less working in concert with the Israeli occupation army in the West Bank.

Some Palestinian villagers have reported that they saw Israeli soldiers and Palestinian soldiers jointly carrying out raids and arrests in the northern West Bank.  Moreover, it is widely believed that the closure by Israel of numerous Palestinian schools, orphanages, charities and businesses in the West Bank was carried out in close coordination with the Israeli army.  The PA functionaries and operatives routinely deny suggestions that the PA is collaborating with Israel against its own people.  However, there is irrefutable evidence suggesting that the PA is not telling the truth. The daily arrests of Palestinian activists by both Israeli and PA security agencies are very telling, to say the least.

It may be a bit reassuring that some Fatah leaders in the West Bank, such as Qaddura Fares, have spoken out against the scandalous encounter at Beit El, describing the security chiefs involved as “traitors who have nothing to do Fatah.”  However, it remains really disturbing that these men committed a disgraceful act with total impunity.  In a recent interview with the London-based al Hewar TV, Fares urged the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah to fire these security chiefs.

However, one is still deeply disquieted by the fact that the Fatah organization, nearly in its entirety, been reticent and done next to nothing to punish, expose or even rebuke these men who have committed what amounts to be national apostasy.  To be sure, Fatah is not a monolithic movement, neither ideologically nor even politically. Nonetheless, there are a lot of honest and patriotic people within the movement.  We also understand that the good people within Fatah, who probably constitute the majority, are being marginalized, isolated and impoverished financially by the Oslo gang which has the money and the political backing by Israel and the United States.  However, Fatah can’t be forgiven for allowing, even passively, these money-grabbing opportunists and hangers-on to besmirch a movement that has produced people like Abu Ammar and Abu Jihad and thousands of martyrs who lived and died for Palestine.

Treason is treason whether committed by Fatah or the Southern Lebanon Army or by the infamous village leagues.  And there is no real difference between a Shin Beth agent who leads Israeli death squads to the whereabouts of a Palestinian freedom fighter and a PA security officer who carries out Israeli instructions under the disgraceful rubric of security coordination.  Needless to say, a Palestinian security chief who tells the commanders of the Israeli occupation army that “we have common interests, common goals, and common enemies” is a traitor par excellence who should be immediately arrested and prosecuted for grand treasons.  Just imagine an Israeli officer telling a Palestinian security chief, for example, that “we have one enemy, it is the Jewish settlers.” Would such a proverbial officer stay on his job for 24 hours?

It is therefore imperative that Fatah press and pressure its top leadership, which is the leadership of the Palestinian Authority, to launch a speedy investigation into what happened at the Beit El meeting and sack those security chiefs who have brought shame and infamy to decades of Palestinian struggle for liberty. Failing to act for whatever reason would only mean that Fatah is effectively being Zionized by allowing itself to be infiltrated and even taken over by Israeli agents who claim to be serving Palestinian national interests while in reality serving the interests of our enemy, Israel.  Unfortunately, we can’t give the top Fatah leadership the benefit of the doubt since it is likely that the Beit El meeting took place with its full knowledge, approval and even blessing.  This is probably what emboldened those security chiefs and made them attend the meeting and say what they reportedly said with brazen disregard to Palestinian national dignity. The attendance of the Israeli journalist, whom they knew would disseminate the details of their convivial meeting with the Israeli occupation officers, also tells us much about the mental level of these people.

Finally, one is really at loss trying to understand how Fatah is really sincere about national reconciliation with Hamas at a time when Fatah’s men tell Israeli security chiefs that “Hamas is the enemy” and “give us weapons and training to re-conquer Gaza.”  In short, Fatah has to choose either reconciliation with Hamas or cordial relations with Israel, the occupier of our country and tormentor of our people.  It can’t choose both.

Khalid Amayreh is a journalist living in Palestine. Read other articles by Khaled, or visit Khaled's website.