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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Fatah on Bin Laden: One message in Arabic and another in English

You will recall that I reported on Tuesday evening that the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the 'military wing' of the 'Palestinian Authority's ruling Fatah party, had issued a statement calling the death of Osama Bin Laden a 'naqba' - a catastrophe.

Around the same time that statement was issued, State Department spokesman Mark Toner slammed Hamas for its statement condemning the liquidation of Bin Laden.
Ismael Haniyeh, head of the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, said in response to the U.S. operation against bin Laden "we regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood."

Toner said Haniyeh's comments were "outrageous."

"It goes without saying bin Laden was a murderer and a terrorist. He ordered the killings of thousands of innocent men, women and children, and many of whom were Muslim," Toner said.
Okay, let's forget for a minute the 'many of whom were Muslim,' because it's irrelevant and it's outrageous for the State Department to issue a statement that implies that if none of them were Muslim there would have been nothing wrong with Haniyeh's statement. Let's go back to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Abu Bluff's dilemma.

The email I got with the translation of the Maan statement in Arabic came in at 5:18 pm. Tuesday's State Department briefing by Mark Toner started at 8:55 pm Israel time and finished at 9:30 pm Israel time. The questions about the 'Palestinians' are about two thirds of the way down, so let's call it 9:20. What's a 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President to do?

Well at 8:12 pm, Fatah published in the English media a denial from al-Aqsa that they ever made a statement about Bin Laden's death. There are two problems with that statement. First, by that time, Palestinian Media Watch has already translated and published the original Arabic statement. And second, Abu Bluff is in Cairo on Wednesday to sign an agreement with Hamas, which is not denying its statement.

And just to close the circle, Palestinian Media Watch points out Abu Mazen's pants around his knees.
The following is the statement as it appears in Ma'an's Arabic and English websites. The bold sections indicate the part that Ma'an misrepresented:

Ma'an in Arabic on the concluding statement of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades:
"We say to the American and Israeli occupier: The [Islamic] nation which produced leaders who changed the course of history through their Jihad and their endurance is a nation that is capable of supplying an abundance of new blood into the arteries of the resistance and is capable of restoring the glory of Islam and the flag of Allah's oneness, Allah willing.'"
[Ma'an Arabic, May 3, 2011]

Ma'an in English on the concluding statement of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades:
"We tell the Israeli and the American occupiers that we have leaders who have changed history with their Jihad and their steadfastness. We are ready to sacrifice our lives to bring back peace."
[Ma'an English, May 3, 2011]

The following is the full release by Ma'an in English:
Al-Aqsa Brigades: Jihad to continue without bin Laden

(Ma'an) -- The Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Brigades mourned Tuesday the death of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, following his assassination Sunday by American troops in Pakistan.

His death, a statement said, "won't stop our Jihad mission against injustice and occupation," adding doubt over the veracity of claims that the fundamentalist had indeed been killed.

In a statement received by Ma'an the brigades said: "The Islamic nation was shocked with the news that bin Laden had been killed by the non-believers."

He left a generation who follows the education he gave in Jihad, the statement continued."The fighters in Palestine and around the world who have lost their leaders did not stop their mission and will continue in the tutelage of their masters."

Concluding, the statement said "we tell the Israeli and the American occupiers that we have leaders who have changed history with their Jihad and their steadfastness. We are ready to sacrifice our lives to bring back peace."

Palestinian reactions to the announcement that the Al-Qaeda leader had been assassinated were mixed.

Palestinian Authority caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad called the event one that increased the chance for peace in the world, while Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh condemned the assassination, calling it an extension of an American foreign policy based on killing.
[Ma'an English, May 3, 2011]
Read the whole thing.

Before I give my prescription for what we have to do about this, please allow me to add that the Israeli government is turning a blind eye to the al-Aqsa statement. For example, in the 7:00 am hour on Israel Radio on Wednesday, there was an interview with Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai (Labor) who pointed to their positions on Bin Laden as one of the 'differences' between Fatah and Hamas that 'proves' that the reconciliation between the two is a sham. Vilnai is trying to promote the notion that Fatah is still a partner for peace. Sadly, it is not. The reconciliation is less of a sham than the notion that there is any difference between Hamas and Fatah's stances on Bin Laden.

What do we need to do? As usual, the mainstream media is ignoring this story and the Israeli government is burying its head in the sand if it even noticed what happened on Tuesday. This post should be sent to anyone in the Israeli government with whom any of you have contact. (I am sure that nearly every one of you who follows me on Twitter follows and is followed by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon - he should get hundreds of copies of this story). It should be sent to your Representatives and Senators if you are an American, so that the Congress is not taken in. It should be sent to the US State Department so that they know that Mark Toner should have issued another condemnation on Tuesday (anyone going to Wednesday's press briefing?). It should be sent to the Israeli embassy in Washington. Quite simply, we must get the word out and expose Fatah's double dealing. Because no one else will.

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