Fatah Factions Condemn Abbas for Attending Peres’ Funeral

In this handout photo provided by the Israel Government Press Office (GPO), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during the funeral of former Israeli leader Shimon Peres on September 30, 2016 in Jerusalem, Israel. World leaders and dignitaries from 70 countries attended the …
Amos Ben Gershom/GPO via Getty

JAFFA, Israel – Some Fatah factions have joined the chorus of critics condemning Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for attending former Israeli President Shimon Peres’ funeral on Friday.

Some of Abbas’s loyalists succumbed to sweeping condemnation of the president, chiefly by Hamas, for paying last respects to a person they described as a war criminal who “massacred” Palestinians, without citing evidence to back up that wild claim.

The Storm Forces, a militant sub-faction of Fatah’s military wing, published a pamphlet addressing the “members of the brave Palestinian people and our great movement, Fatah, the bearer of the revolution.”

They accused Abbas of “diverging from national unity and the morality of the Palestinian Revolution,” charging that he cracks down on the resistance fighters and “orders his security forces to continue colluding with the occupation and the settlers.”

“This dictator,” they added, “who made the Palestinian institutions ineffectual, paralyzed the Palestinian Parliament and the judiciary, took over the security forces and co-opted the victories of the revolution for his own benefit and that of his sons, who took over the economy, continues to humiliate himself and the Palestinian people by attending the funeral of Shimon Peres, the founder of the Zionist movement and the Haganah who took away our land, and expelled and massacred our people only to establish their entity on our land.

Mahmoud Abbas crossed all the red lines drawn by the Palestinian revolution.”

“We, the Storm Forces of Fatah, the movement of liberation and resistance, declare that we have no connection to Abbas and his entourage, we disavow him as the leader of the movement founded by martyrs like the great leader Yasser Arafat and the martyrs Abu Jihad and Abu Iyad, a movement whose martyrs led the way to others by sacrificing themselves. It is unacceptable that it is led by someone who believes in collusion. Normalization continues to humiliate our brave people on a daily basis.”

Further condemnation came from the Fatah student union at Bir Zeit University, the influential West Bank institution. Also opening with a quote from the Quran condemning collusion with the enemy, the union’s statement said: “The humiliating and offensive participation [in the funeral] is a form of treason. Before the President went to the funeral of the criminal Peres, we appealed to all the government agencies hoping he would take back his humiliating decision.”

Following the announcement, Fatah stated it suspended the members behind the Abbas criticism. Some claimed that Abbas’ critics were abused and threatened by the PA security forces.

The Fatah rebels, meanwhile, celebrated Usama Mansur Abu Arab, a top official in the PA’s Israel Coordination Directorate, who was suspended from his role for posting a Facebook post in which he called on Abbas to cancel his participation. Abu Arab was arrested over the weekend, which gave him even greater popular support.

Abbas was criticized left, right and center on social media. Among the posts that went viral was a video of an 80-year-old Palestinian woman who insulted Abbas during an interview with her grandson. A cartoon showing Abbas as a kippa-clad Jewish soldier weeping at Peres’ grave also went viral.