RAMALLAH, West Bank - A former senior official in the Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) said PA President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction would never recognize Israel's right to exist.
In an interview in the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi, Fatah Central Committee member Rafik Natsheh said the party had never accepted the legitimacy of the Jewish state.
Natsheh served as a minister in the PA government and as speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council. He is a close colleague of Abbas.
"Fatah does not recognize Israel's right to exist nor have we ever asked others to do so," Natsheh told al-Quds al-Arabi.
"All these reports about recognizing Israel are false," he said.
"It's all media nonsense. We don't ask other factions [such as Hamas] to recognize Israel because we in Fatah have never recognized Israel," he said.
Natsheh said that Fatah would never abandon its right to armed resistance against Israel.
The former PA minister's statements come less than two weeks before the faction's general assembly, slated to be held in Bethlehem on August 4.
An estimated 1,500 Fatah members are expected to attend the meeting, the first in two decades, Jerusalem Post Palestinian Affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh reported.
"The Fatah conference won't obliterate the 'resistance option,'" Natsheh said.(Resistance refers to what the Palestinians call the armed struggle, i.e., terrorism.)
"Fatah has been the target of a conspiracy to liquidate it ever since the signing of the Oslo Accords and the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority," he said.
Earlier this year, senior Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan, who served as chief of PA security forces, said Fatah had never recognized the right of the Jewish state to exist.
Source: The Jerusalem Post