U.S. Says Al Fatah Statements Contain ‘derogatory Rhetoric’

The political program issued this week by Yasir Arafat’s Al Fatah branch of the Palestine Liberation Organization contains “derogatory rhetoric” that “raises questions about Fatah’s commitment to accommodation, understanding and peace,” the State Department said Thursday.

A Fatah congress that met in Tunis this week approved a program that advocated “intensifying and escalating armed action and all forms of struggle to eliminate the Zionist Israeli occupation of our occupied Palestinian land.”

State Department spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler, at her daily briefing, said “the statement’s derogatory rhetoric on Israel, its tone of confrontation and violence, and its preference for unrealistic principles and solutions, instead of practical ideas for peace, are unhelpful.”

She said the full document has not been analyzed, and that it is being studied further “in an effort to have a clearer understanding.”

The Israeli Embassy here released a statement Thursday that also noted how Al Fatah was forming a special committee “with the objective of preventing Jewish immigration to Israel. Thus, Fatah seeks to strike at the very essence of Israel as the home of the Jewish people. Fatah’s aim is clear: to undermine the seeds of Israel’s demise.”

Tutwiler said that the United States “will continue our dialogue with the PLO to determine whether the PLO is committed to the undertakings of last December.”

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