Presidents Conference raps Fatah statements

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations criticized statements made at this week’s Fatah congress.

"Statements by Abu Alaa praising suicide bombers who have killed dozens of people is wholly unacceptable and represents the true challenge to the chances for peace in the region," Presidents Conference chairman Alan Solow and executive vice chairman Malcolm Hoenlein said in a statement, referring to Ahmed Queria, the former Palestinian Authority prime minister and now the Palestinians’ chief negotiator in peace talks with Israel. "Statements by other Fatah officials urged the continuation of armed resistance and asserted that Fatah would not recognize the State of Israel.

"These declarations, made by the so-called ‘moderate’ Palestinian faction, puts into sharp focus the question of the real beliefs of the party with whom Israel is to negotiate."

Queria reportedly referred to two men who carried out a terrorist attack that killed 37 Israelis as heroes, and media accounts of the conference quote some participants as favoring "armed struggle" — including Jibril Rajoub, the former head of the PA’s internal security force and a leading contender for leadership of the Fatah movement.

At least two members of the Presidents Conference, Ameinu and Americans for Peace Now, say they were not consulted before the statement was issued — the second time in the past three weeks that some members of the 52-organization umbrella group have said they were left out of deliberations on a public statement.

Ameinu said the statement also should have noted that news accounts quoted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as backing nonviolent protests, and that many other delegates said they agreed.

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