Photo: Gil Yohanan
Former Shin Bet chief Knesset Member Avi Dichter (Kadima) warned Monday night of the decisions which may be reached during the upcoming Fatah congress in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
"Fatah's statements are clearing the way to what may eventually be the third intifada," he said. "Once you say that the fight will go on by all means necessary – anyone in their right mind understands that spells an armed conflict... Such a decision by the congress would send us years back."
Dichter, who served as internal security minister in the former government, also addressed reports suggesting Fatah may reaffirm and update sections of its charter, particularly those objecting to any recognition of Israel as the Jewish homeland.
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"It is very clear, even now, that the Palestinians have no intention of missing an opportunity – to miss an opportunity," he said.
"What I find particularly disturbing is that it's the moderates that plan to have the convention vote on an article titled 'continuing the fight against Israel by all means necessary.' Sixteen years after the Oslo Accords, it's Fatah's way of saying they see an armed conflict as a legitimate way to conduct dialogue with Israel.
"If they intend to see that article through, they would be leading to the next armed conflict. A week ago they were still talking about a public fight, which could be construed as demonstrations, but over the past few days they have been talking about reaffirming the sections calling for a fight.
"It is inconceivable," he continued, "That nine years after the Second Intifada – which the heads of the Palestinian Authority did nothing to curb – and two years after they lost the Gaza Strip to Hamas and the Iranians in what was a de facto coup, the PA's leadership, headed by Abbas, still believe an armed conflict would lead to a Palestinian state.
"If it wasn’t for Israel's vigorous actions against the terror activity in Judea and Samaria, the Palestinian Authority's leaders would be on the run, trying to flee Hamas, just like they fled Gaza. The future of the Palestinian Authority depends on it seeking peace with Israel."
Dichter, whose grim analysis is based on his dozens of years with the security establishment, believes Israel must reevaluate the situation before making any further decisions.
"The chances of any bilateral progress with the Palestinians are practically nonexistent, because they don’t know how to follow though (on decisions) for themselves, let alone where Israel is concerned.
"We have to take a closer look at the Arab Initiative, which may provide a biding framework for the PA. As I see it," he concluded, "The Palestinians are about to lose their way again, just like after Oslo."