Palestinians: Fatah Prepares for War with Israel

by Khaled Abu Toameh
October 19, 2016

Some 300 members of the Palestinian Fatah faction, headed by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, have begun receiving “military training” in the Gaza Strip in preparation for war with Israel.

The armed wing of Fatah, Aqsa Martyrs Brigades — The Martyr Nidal Al-Amoudi Division, announced that its members have been enrolled in a new military academy for training “fighters” in the Gaza Strip. The academy, inaugurated recently in the Gaza Strip, would train the “fighters” on various fighting methods “in the context of a program for preparing for any future battle” with the “Zionist enemy.”

The Nidal Academy was named for Nidal Al-Amoudi, a top Fatah militant killed by the Israel Defense Forces on January 13, 2008, after he carried out a series of armed attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers during the Second Intifada. “The academy has been named after the commander Nidal Al-Amoudi (Abu Hussein) to fulfill his dream of qualifying the fighters militarily, morally, religiously and revolutionarily,” explained a statement released by the Fatah armed group. Noting that some 300 “fighters” have already joined the academy, the group said that they have begun undergoing training in various methods of warfare.

“We have pledged to prepare an army of fighters by devoting our full abilities and energies to consolidate the option of armed struggle as the only means to liberate Palestine,” the group declared.

The Martyr Nidal Al-Amoudi Division is one of several Fatah-affiliated militias that continue to operate in the Gaza Strip despite Hamas’s violent takeover of the area in the summer of 2007. These groups pose no threat to the Hamas regime, which is why they are allowed to operate freely in different parts of the Gaza Strip. The groups’ explicit policy is to prepare for war with Israel and launch terror attacks against Israelis. Hamas, however, which expelled their leaders from the Gaza Strip and continues to persecute dozens of Fatah activists in the Gaza Strip, is not on their hit list.

The Fatah-affiliated militia inauguration of its own “military” academy in the Gaza Strip is a novel move. In recent years, Fatah armed groups have posted videos of their men undergoing military training orchards and fields, far from the watchful eyes of their rivals in Hamas. Now it seems that Hamas has nothing to fear from the Fatah militants, as Israel is the sole target.

Thus instead of training their men to retake the Gaza Strip and liberate it from the oppressive regime of Hamas, the Fatah “fighters” are busy preparing for war with Israel or fighting among themselves. Indeed, it appears that the Fatah armed groups are actually competing with Hamas for the title of “Most Prepared to Destroy Israel.” Like Hamas, they wish to win the hearts and minds of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by showing that they too support the “armed struggle” against Israel and seek to “liberate Palestine.”

Fortunately for Hamas, the Fatah militias are rather preoccupied with internecine struggles. This leaves precious little time to think about ways of improving their people’s lives.

Today, at least five other Fatah armed groups function in the Gaza Strip: The Abu Rish Brigades, the Jihad Jibril Brigades, the Abdel Qader Husseini Brigades, the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the Fatah Sukkur (Hawks). Some of these groups have in the past claimed responsibility for firing rockets at Israel. And there is not much harmony or love between these Fatah groups, whose members regard each other as rivals and political foes rather than comrades and colleagues.

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