Palestinians: The Secret West Bank

by Bassam Tawil
April 26, 2017

Westerners often refer to Ramallah as a modern and liberal city dominated by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction. The city boasts fancy restaurants and bars where alcohol is served freely to men and women in Western dress, who sit together to eat and to smoke water pipes (nargilas).

But the scenes on the streets of Ramallah, headquarters of Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA) last week broadcast a rather different message — one that calls for the elimination of Israel. The message came on the eve of Abbas’s visit to the White House for his first meeting with US President Donald Trump.

According to PA officials, Abbas is scheduled to affirm during the meeting with Trump his commitment to the two-state solution and a “comprehensive and just peace” with Israel.

As Abbas and his advisors prepare for the May 3 meeting with Trump, however, thousands of Palestinians gathered in Ramallah to call on Arab armies to “liberate Palestine, from the (Jordan) river to the (Mediterranean) sea.” The Palestinians also called for replacing Israel with an Islamic Caliphate.

The call for the elimination of Israel was made in the center of Ramallah, only a few hundred meters away from Abbas’s office. It came during a rally organized by Hizb ut Tahrir (Party of Liberation), a radical pan-Islamic political organization whose goal is the re-establishment of the Islamic Caliphate, or Islamic state. Like the terrorist group ISIS, Hizb ut Tahrir seeks to establish a state to enforce Islamic sharia law and carrying the da’wah (preaching) of Islam to the rest of the world.

The rally was organized to mark the 96th anniversary of the abolition of the Islamic Caliphate in 1924. It was held with the permission of the Palestinian Authority leadership, even though Hizb ut Tahrir is vehemently opposed both to Abbas’s policies and Israel’s right to exist, which it rejects. PA officials claim that despite its radical ideology, Hizb ut Tahrir does not pose a threat to stability in the region, because, unlike Hamas, its influence is limited and it does not resort to violence.

One after the other, leaders of Hizb ut Tahrir stood up in Ramallah this week to proclaim the need to “liberate all Palestine” and to restore the Islamic Caliphate. Dr. Maher Ja’bari, a Hizb ut Tahrir leader, said:

“The Islamic Caliphate will be restored only when Palestine is fully liberated. Palestine was occupied because of the collapse of the Islamic Caliphate. The issue of the caliphate has united the [Islamic] nation and it is the basic case for the liberation of Palestine and the implementation of Sharia for all Muslims under one [Muslim] ruler.”

Once the Muslim extremists come to power, Abbas and most of his officials would be the first to be beheaded or hanged in public squares for “selling out to the Jews.” Still, Abbas’s leadership did not see a need to prevent the Hizb ut Tahrir supporters from holding their rally in Ramallah to voice their extremist views, which also included an appeal for the “mobilization of Arab and Islamic armies to liberate Palestine and the Aqsa Mosque.”

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