“After canceling the Palestinian elections because his Fatah party faced certain defeat, Abbas was at his lowest popularity ever… He was desperate to redirect Palestinian wrath from him to Israel,” explains PMW director Itamar Marcus.
Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party has called for increased violence and riots in Jerusalem, following clashes on Saturday night which left 205 Palestinians and 17 police officers injured.
In a widely publicized statement, the Fatah’s Central Committee announced: “The Fatah Movement with all its elements and leadership calls to continue this uprising… Fatah calls on everyone to raise the level of confrontation in the coming days and hours in the Palestinian lands, the points of friction, and the settlers’ roads.”
The statement, which opened with a quote from the Quran, was posted to numerous official Facebook accounts including the official Facebook pages of Fatah, the PA Presidential Guard, Fatah Deputy Chairman Mahmoud Al-Aloul, and Fatah Central Committee member Rawhi Fattouh.
It was further disseminated through WAFA, the official PA news agency, and in the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, as well as in private news agencies, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW).
In the last few weeks PMW has tracked the stoking of violence in Jerusalem for political gain by Fatah, after Abbas’ party started to falter in polling for the touted Palestinian Authority elections.
Itamar Marcus, director of PMW, commented: “The timing of this latest terror wave initiated by Mahmoud Abbas is not at all surprising. After canceling the Palestinian elections because his Fatah party faced certain defeat, Abbas was at his lowest popularity ever with no legitimacy to continue ruling. He was desperate to redirect Palestinian wrath from him to Israel.
“So, as he has done in the past, Abbas artificially created a crisis over Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Palestinians are going out to fight and attack Israelis in the name of protecting the Al-Aqsa Mosque, but the only one they are protecting is Mahmoud Abbas from impending political demise.”
Addressed to the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, the statement lauded the protestors as war heroes. Fatah told them: “we bow to you in admiration and honor before your sacrifice and your stand that are being expressed in this heroic battle in Jerusalem.”
Calling for renewed violence, Fatah added: “The Fatah Movement with all its elements and leadership calls to continue this uprising and stand against the occupation forces, the settlers, and their terrorist organizations that are working with the support of the right-wing fascist Israeli government.”
Accusing Israel of a number of provocations, Fatah called for “a comprehensive confrontation in all the Palestinian lands” and appealed to Palestinians to gather on Monday, May 10 for “a day of action”.
The statement is far from being the first incitement by Fatah for the violence that has marked this year’s Ramadan festival.
In early May, on the same day that three Israeli teens were shot, one of whom later succumbed to his wounds, Fatah posted to Facebook an old song inciting terror with the words “O self-sacrificing fighter, make sure your bullets hit the target.”
Fatah was also quick to refer to riots in Jerusalem as “an uprising and intifada,” and a 2014 video of Abbas calling on Palestinians to “defend Jerusalem with our lives” was re-broadcast numerous times as an incitement to violence.
Nan Jacques Zilberdik, senior analyst at Palestinian Media Watch, commented: “Much of the Israeli and international media have singled out Hamas as the villain inciting Palestinians to violence in Jerusalem. However, as Palestinian Media Watch has exposed, Abbas himself, his Palestinian Authority, and his Fatah Movement – which is part of the PLO – were the ones who initiated the incitement to violence and terror, and only afterward Hamas joined.”
She added: “Throughout the riots, Abbas, the PA, and Fatah – both of which Abbas heads – have been unequivocal about their support for the Palestinian riots in Jerusalem. Abbas has not wasted one moment during the riots but utilized every opportunity to express support for the rioters and ‘salute’ them for their resolve against the Israeli plans to take control of the holy city.”