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Friday, February 17, 2017

Mahmoud Abbas has a new potential heir apparent.
Forrmer Nablus governor Mahmoud al-Aloul was appointed as the first ever vice president of the ruling Palestinian Fatah movement Wednesday night, marking him as a possible candidate to succeed Mahmoud Abbas as Palestinian Authority president.

Aloul, 67, apppointed by the Fatah Central Committee, is a close confidant of the 82-year-old Abbas. He is considered popular within the party, and was a long-time leader of Fatah’s armed wing before following the group’s leadership from Tunis to the West Bank in 1995 in the wake of the Oslo Accords.
The Foundation for Defense of Democracies notes:
 Within Fatah’s upper echelons, al-Aloul assumed the portfolio of mobilization and organization within the party, and in that role he has had an active presence. He is frequently spotted leading protests in the West Bank, and in November of last year, he gave a speech where he declared: “When we talk about our enemies, we talk about the [Israeli] occupation and the United States.”
 Al-Aloul has consistently stated that "armed resistance," meaning terror, is a "right" the official Fatah position.

In 2012 he said that "no one has dropped the armed resistance from his dictionary" and that Fatah’s political program had reaffirmed that “resistance is a legitimate right to resist the occupation.” He repeated this in 2013.

But he's stated this much more recently and explicitly as well. Last June, Al-Aloul emphasized that the Palestinians have "the option of resistance in all its forms in light of the fact that the peace process is stalled and the occupation continues its crimes," as reported in Palestinian media.

In November, on TV, he said:
Perhaps there are people who think that in the [recent] past the Oslo Accords took place and new and defined strategies were created that were connected to a realistic view of the situation. [However, this occurred] out of consideration for the balance of powers, and not as a strategic change. Some of the people thought that the essence of Fatah had changed, and that its strategy had changed…
Therefore, in the Sixth Fatah Conference - and we will again emphasize this in the political plan of the seventh conference – we passed a resolution that defines the identity [of Fatah], we called it a political declaration, and this declaration opens the political plan: … ‘Despite our adherence to the option of a just peace and our efforts to realize it, we declare that we do not renounce any option, and we believe that resistance in all its forms (i.e., including violence) is a legitimate right of the occupied peoples in their confrontation against the occupiers.’
In December, he declared that the PLO is not obligated to uphold the provisions of the Oslo Accords any more because he claims Israel is not upholding it, and this was another declaration made at the Seventh Fatah Congress.

I have not yet seen a list of all the declarations from the Seventh Fatah Congress last November, but from al-Aloul's statements it appears that they have not fundamentally changed from the platform from the sixth congress in 2009 which said exactly what he is saying, that terrorism is still a legitimate option but one that is not being exercised at this time for tactical reasons.

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