A recent meeting in Ramallah between Israeli and Palestinian officials has been blasted by several Palestinian factions for promoting “normalization” between Israel and the Palestinians. Among those leveling the criticisms are members of the Fatah faction to which Western-backed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas belongs. The rhetoric of the rejection will likely deepen skepticism about how major Palestinian groups are orienting themselves toward the Israeli-Palestinian peace process:
The Fatah-controlled Palestinian Journalists Syndicate in the West Bank has joined the anti-normalization campaign by demanding that its members refrain from meeting Israeli colleagues. Referring to the most recent meeting in Ramallah, Fatah said: “We condemn normalization and those behind it. Such meetings are void of political content and a waste of time. They are unjustified, nationally and politically.”
The faction said in a leaflet that such meetings were in violation of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s position to halt meetings with the Israeli government. According to Fatah, the Ramallah meeting “ignored the feelings of our people and the living memory among our people – that these Zionists are the staunchest enemies of our rights.”
The denunciations are not the first time in recent weeks when Fatah members have branded attempts to promote co-existence as “normalization”:
This claim was clearly issued because of the “anti-normalization” campaign waged by Fatah over the past few years. This is a campaign that — in the context of “peace” and “coexistence” projects that are often sponsored and funded by the European Union and the U.S. — aims at banning meetings between Israeli and Palestinians.
The most recent victims of the anti-normalization drive are Palestinian boys and girls who committed the “crime” of playing in a football match against Israeli teenagers. When pictures of the match appeared in the media, Fatah rushed to issue threats against the Palestinian players and those behind the tournament.
The denunciations also come in the wake of polling data showing that more than half of the Palestinian public believes that the Palestinian government should reject a current U.S. peace initiative.
Palestinian officials in recent weeks again rejected the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians without preconditions.