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MIDEAST ISRAEL USA
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, right, meets with Jason Greenblatt, Donald Trump special representative for international negotiations in the West Bank city of Ramallah, March 14, 2017.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement is calling for violence against Israel during next week’s Bahrain conference. Earlier this week, Fatah posted an image of a masked Palestinian throwing a rock on its official Facebook page and urged Palestinians to “escalate confrontations.”

Since the announcement of the U.S.-led “Peace to Prosperity” conference, which is to focus on economic investment in the P.A. as part of U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, the P.A. has refused to participate and called on Arab states to boycott the conference.

Calls to boycott the economic workshop have come from P.A. politicians across the Fatah ruling party.

According to a report in the official P.A. daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida on Monday, P.A. Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh accused the U.S. president and administration of “waging an economic and political war against the PLO” and questioned how the United States can “organize the Manama conference and claim that it is meant to improve the economic situation of the Palestinians?”

Last Thursday, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida published an article by Fatah Revolutionary Council Secretary Majed al-Fatiani, who said that the council “is committed to leading the struggle to stop the great plot that is being woven against our people.”

He implicitly threatened violence, using the Palestinian euphemism for violence and terrorism, stating the Palestinians will use “all means available.” Al-Fatiani called on “the Fatah members and the vital forces on the Palestinian lands to [dedicate] the 24th, 25th and 26th [of June; the Bahrain conference runs from June 25-26] to Palestine and Jerusalem, in order to express their rejection of the Bahrain conference.”

A day earlier, Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki and PLO Central Council member Omar Shehadeh participated in a meeting entitled “The Holocaust of the Century in Bahrain … Its Signs, Consequences, and Ways to Deal With It.”

Palestinian leaders present emphasized that the Bahrain conference is “a holocaust for basic Arab principles and Palestinian rights,” while the director of the meeting dubbed Trump’s “deal of the century” “the Zionist-American ‘holocaust of the century’” and alleged that the conference only pretends to seek economic prosperity for Palestinians but in reality is a cover for creating “normalization” with the Arab states.

The PLO, too, has called on all the states and political and financial bodies that have been invited to the conference to “respect the position of the Palestinian consensus” and not participate in it.

Regarding the Fatah call to violence, Nan Jacques Zilberdik, a senior analyst with the Israel-based NGO Palestinian Media Watch, said: “Fatah’s call for violence is a sad reminder that even a quarter of a century after the Oslo Accords, Fatah still believes in violence and encourages Palestinians to “escalate confrontations” with Israel to achieve its political goals.”

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