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PA Goal: Unity with Hamas and Islamic Jihad Terror Organizations

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C) alongside Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (L) and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, July 26, 2023. Photo: Reuters/Palestinian Presidents’ Office

There are many question about will happen to, and who will rule, the Gaza Strip after Israel has destroyed Hamas’ terror infrastructure.

For their part, the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s Fatah leaders are confident that the PA and Fatah will unite with the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror organizations and rule Gaza together.

Some PA and Fatah leaders have been adamant about joining forces with the terror organizations.

Jibril Rajoub, a top PA official and Fatah Central Committee Secretary, speaking in the name of Mahmoud Abbas, the PA leadership, and the PLO Executive Committee, has repeatedly stressed the PA’s goal of uniting with Hamas and Islamic Jihad — which he whitewashes as “political Islam” – against Israel:

Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub calls for unity:

“We say to our brothers in Hamas: We stand before a great turning point … The time has come for us [Fatah and Hamas] to reach a compromise. I call on them, on behalf of the Palestinian [PA] leadership, [PA President] Mahmoud Abbas, and the PLO Executive Committee — we say to them [Hamas]: Come build a political rapprochement regarding the international project, and build rapprochement regarding the struggle around a strategic option that could reap these achievements, which include an international turning point in world opinion about us and about our cause … We say to our brothers in Hamas and the Islamic Jihad Movement — the ball is in your court”

[Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub, Facebook page, Dec. 17, 2023]

Rajoub also says that the PA won’t rule Gaza without Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror organizations.

Jibril Rajoub: “Political Islam [i.e., Hamas] has been part of our political and social fabric and the fabric of our struggle, and it still is, and it will remain, period. … We will not go to [govern] the Gaza Strip without national agreement that will include political Islam, whether it is our brothers in Hamas or our brothers in [Islamic] Jihad. This is impossible.”

[Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub, Facebook page, Dec. 14, 2023]

Rajoub has also said that Hamas is “part of the fabric of our struggle”:

Jibril Rajoub: “We view political Islam, and foremost among it the Hamas Movement, as part of the fabric of our struggle and our political and social fabric. We must preserve our achievements, we are a liberation project, and we are all potential Martyrs.”

[Al-Anba, Kuwaiti news website, Nov. 26, 2023]

He has also called the Oct. 7 massacre a “battle of heroism”:

Jibril Rajoub: “We hope that our brothers in Hamas will do a political rapprochement, a rapprochement regarding the struggle, and an organizational rapprochement, so that we will reach a compromise … What happened on Oct. 7 [2023] was a great earthquake and returned the Palestinian cause to the global agenda…

Fatah and [PA President] Mahmoud Abbas — despite all the pressures, and perhaps a number of things happened that didn’t have to happen — we have not condemned and not denounced [Hamas’ attack], and we have also not closed the door of unity on our brothers in political Islam.We say to them: We view you as part of the social fabric, the fabric of the struggle, and the Palestinian political and national fabric.”

[Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub, Facebook page, Dec. 16, 2023]

“Rajoub said that ‘the Al-Aqsa Flood’ operation and the Palestinian resistance’s attack on Oct. 7 [2023], which Hamas’ military wing, the Martyr Izz A-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, launched against the occupation’s settlements [sic., towns in sovereign Israel], is ‘an additional battle of heroism and a war of defense in the 75-year history of the Palestinian resistance.’

He added that the Palestinians need to make collective decisions through joint support for the resistance [i.e., terror].’”

[Wattan, independent Palestinian news agency, Dec. 22, 2023]

Rajoub has also stressed that terror organizations will unite under the PLO/PA:

Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub: “The PLO [is] the sole legitimate representative of the [Palestinian] people. This is an achievement that we will not relinquish.

Of course, the PLO needs reorganization so that it will become the umbrella organization of all the Palestinians and of all the national action factions, including the [factions of] political Islam … The PA … also needs a reexamination, so that it will be a national unity government that will be responsible for all the Palestinians in all the Palestinian territories.”

[Ma’an, independent Palestinian news agency, Dec. 14, 2023]

This was echoed by Fatah official Muhammad Al-Hourani:

Fatah Revolutionary Council member Muhammad Al-Hourani: “We believe Hamas that it is taking action for the freedom of the land. Therefore we, Hamas, and all the Palestinian factions must think deeply and seriously about realizing the unity of the Palestinian arena under the flag of the PLO.”

[Al-Arabiya TV (Saudi Arabia), YouTube channel, Dec. 27, 2023]

Another top PA official who has called for unity with Hamas is Mahmoud Abbas’ Advisor on Religious Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash. Throughout the war, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) has exposed Al-Habbash’s emphasis on the PA’s support for Hamas and its massacre in Israel on Oct. 7, and its continued war against Israel — a support he has garnished with antisemitic teachings about Jews.

Al-Habbash: PA and Fatah’s “hands are extended, hearts are open” to Hamas to unite:

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Advisor on Religious Affairs and Islamic Relations Mahmoud Al-Habbash:

“The occupation [i.e., Israel] is the cause of every problem … Now more than ever, we need to end the matter of the internal [Fatah-Hamas] conflict. Our hands are extended, our hearts are open, and our chests are open to every Palestinian voice that wants to put the internal Palestinian home in order, because this is necessary to strengthen our position.”

[PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Advisor on Religious Affairs and Islamic Relations Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Facebook page, Dec. 24, 2023]

Mahmoud Al-Habbash: “More than ever we must put our internal home in order. The time has come for everyone to once and for all announce the end of the [Fatah-Hamas] rift to unite the Palestinian internal front against this [Israeli] aggression.”

[PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Advisor on Religious Affairs and Islamic Relations Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Facebook page, Dec. 12, 2023]

PLO Executive Committee Secretary Hussein Al-Sheikh repeated Abbas’ support for Hamas, stressing Abbas defended Hamas at the UN by claiming it is “not a terror organization”:

“Hamas is not a terror movement,” PLO official cites PA Chairman Abbas’ defense of Hamas 

Al-Jazeera TV interviewer: “A poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) showed Palestinian support for the Resistance [i.e., Hamas] and a regression in the popularity of the PA, and President Abbas in particular. How do you view this, considering that you have stated that Hamas is not a role model?” …

PLO Executive Committee Secretary Hussein Al-Sheikh: “I didn’t say that Hamas is not a role model … When the world spoke and demanded that Hamas be defined as a terror movement — who set out against the world? Was it not Mahmoud Abbas, who stood at the UN podium and said: ‘No, Hamas is not a terror movement’! The real terror is the occupation [i.e., Israel]. The real terror is the settlement enterprise.”

[Former Head of Fatah Commission of Information and Culture’s Information Office Munir Al-Jaghoub, X (Twitter) account, Dec. 19, 2023]

Right from the beginning of the war, immediately after Hamas’ massacre in Israel on Oct. 7, PMW has reported on PA officials around the world expressing support for the Oct 7 terror attack. Another example is PLO Ambassador to South Africa Hanan Jarrar:

PLO Ambassador to South Africa Hanan Jarrar (in English): “As Palestinians we are one. Hamas, Fatah, [Islamic] Jihad, other political parties, either in the Left or the Right – we are one, we are Palestinians, and this is democracy… So why when it comes to Palestine we have to denounce one of our political factions [i.e., Hamas], that according to international law they are doing the right thing? International law says that when any country is under occupation, they have all the right to use all the measures, instruments available to defend themselves…

The Palestinian leadership has been subjected to numerous and huge pressure to denounce what’s going on right now, and we are not denouncing it and we will never ever denounce a major component of our people defending the interest of the Palestinian people.”

[Hilaal TV (South Africa), YouTube channel, Oct. 11, 2023]

Top PLO official Rawhi Fattouh emphasized PA Chairman Abbas’ instructions of continued financial support to Hamas-ruled Gaza, promising to prioritize “sending” money there.

Rawhi Fattouh made this statement in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying the PA cannot take control of the Gaza Strip following the 2023 Gaza war, given that the PA pays salaries to terrorists and refuses to condemn Hamas’ massacre in Israel on Oct. 7.

Palestinian National Council Chairman Rawhi Fattouh: “As [PA President] Mahmoud Abbas noted at a conference and also before the Palestinian [PA] leadership, if we are left with one penny we will send it to the Gaza Strip.

Neither [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu nor anyone else will stop us from spending money on our residents and our people in the Gaza Strip … Therefore, we Palestinians, our position is unified and united, the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem are one body.”

[Official PA TV, Topic of the Day, Nov. 12, 2023]

Continued financial support for Hamas-ruled Gaza has also been stressed by PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh:

PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh: “We did not relinquish the Gaza Strip, and we will not relinquish the Gaza Strip, because they are our people … We are giving the Gaza Strip $1.7 billion from the Palestinian [PA] budget per year, which we spend on the Gaza Strip.”

[Al-Araby TV (Qatar-based), YouTube channel, Dec. 10, 2023]

Similarly, senior PLO/Fatah official Azzam Al-Ahmad stated he had “received instructions from Abbas to make contact with Hamas”:

“Senior PLO official Azzam Al-Ahmad informed [Saudi state-owned] Al-Arabiya TV that he received instructions from Palestinian [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas to make contact with Hamas.

Al-Ahmad … made contact with [Hamas Political Bureau member] Musa Abu Marzouq and [Hamas Political Bureau Chairman] Ismail Haniyeh, and expressed hope of holding an additional conversation with Haniyeh…

He added that the PLO did not set conditions for entering an agreement with the other Palestinian sides … He also noted that all the factions need to be under the PLO framework.”

[Al-Arabiya TV website (Saudi Arabia), Dec. 15, 2023]

Others have also shown their connection to terror organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad — their “brothers” — and called for unity, stating that there are “no disagreements between Hamas and Fatah”:

Fatah Jenin Branch Secretary Ata Abu Rmeileh: “In the name of all the national and Islamic forces we announce a general strike in all aspects of life, in all of Palestine. Here are the brothers from the Islamic Jihad, Fatah, Hamas.”

[Fatah Movement – Bethlehem Branch, Telegram channel, Oct. 31, 2023]

Fatah Spokesman Jamal Nazzal: “Currently there are no disagreements between Hamas and Fatah. We now agree that a ceasefire is the joint goal … From the moment that a ceasefire will be achieved, we must outline a joint political plan and a joint path that will unite us, and through which we will draw conclusions from the recent past. This is the goal that we will put on the table the moment the ceasefire is achieved.”

[Al-Jazeera TV, YouTube channel, Dec. 24, 2023]

Fatah official calls for Fatah-Hamas unity “because after the Gaza Strip [the Israelis] will move on to the West Bank” 

Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki:

“What is needed now after Oct. 7 [2023] is to reexamine all the policies and to have a new strategy whose basis is Palestinian unity. I think the door has been opened so that we will all be united, because after the Gaza Strip they [the Israelis] will move on to the West Bank.”

[Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki, Facebook page, Nov. 17, 2023]

Palestinian civilians in the West Bank have also expressed their support for Hamas and their desire for Hamas rule:

West Bankers praise Hamas, call for terror: “Actions … that will restore the glory to the religion … Death for Allah”

The image above shows celebrations in Nablus for female prisoners released in a prisoner exchange deal starting on Nov. 24, 2023, between Israel and Hamas during the 2023 Gaza war, in which terrorist prisoners were released in exchange for Israeli hostages. The crowd is seen waving green Hamas flags.

PMW has exposed similar calls in support for Hamas by students in the West Bank.

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Major Israeli Tech Entrepreneur Gil Shwed Retires

Gil Shwed, former Chief Executive of Network security provider Check Point Software Technologies, speaks during the annual Cyberweek conference at Tel Aviv University, Israel, June 20, 2016

Gil Shwed, one of Israel’s wealthiest entrepreneurs, announced his retirement on Tuesday, bringing an end to his 30-year tenure as CEO of Check Point, an Israeli software firm.

“This year Check Point celebrated 30 years since its establishment, in which we managed to generate growth and reached a peak in almost every parameter. I feel that this is the right time for me to focus on Check Point’s next leap,” Shwed, 56, said. “We are now looking for a replacement for the position of CEO. It’s a process that will take time and even when it ends I will remain involved. I want to focus less on the daily work, and more on the future of the company.”

Check Point was founded in 1993 by Shwed, Shlomo Kramer, and Marius Nacht. Shwed and Kramer were friends from their time together in Israel’s elite cyber unit 8200.

The company provides AI-powered advanced software and hardware for cyber security to more than 100,000 customers globally, bringing in more than $2 billion per year in revenue.

Headquartered in Tel Aviv and publicly traded on the NASDAQ, Check Point has a market cap of more than $19 billion dollars, making it Israel’s second most valuable company, $2 billion less than automobile giant Mobileye Eye. Shwed’s role as CEO has allowed him to amass a fortune of $4.4 billion due to his 20% share ownership in the company.

Shwed is also a recipient of the Israel Prize, an annual award given to Israelis who have shown a high level of excellence in their specific fields. Shwed was given the first award in the technology field when it was introduced in 2018.

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Israel’s Leading Hotel Chain Expands Internationally

A view of Athens, Greece. Photo: Jan M via Wikimedia Commons.

Israel’s leading hotel chain Isrotel has announced the opening of their first hotel outside of the country.

The brand, under a new division called ALUMA, meaning “ray of light” in Hebrew, will open its Skylark Hotel in Athens, Greece next month.

“We succeeded in doing the best in Israel, creating a culture that people love, so if you know Isrotel you will want to visit,” Benny Levy, the VP of sales and marketing at Isrotel, told The Algemeiner.

Levy says just because they are expanding outside of the Jewish state, “We aren’t stopping opening in Israel … Outside of Israel the potential is endless, it is a significant opportunity.”

Lior Raviv, CEO of Isrotel, added, “ALUMA is an international chain of hotels that will benefit from Isrotel’s longstanding experience and uncompromising standards of excellence, offering global travelers a wide range of city hotels and leisure resorts to choose from, and providing unique hospitality experiences. As a sister company of Isrotel, ALUMA is guided by our approach to hospitality as a way of life.”

They said most of the workers will be Israelis, ensuring the culture of the brand remains. “Israeli tourists, and especially loyal guests of Isrotel, who return to us time and again due to our hospitality experience and high standard of service, will find those same qualities and sense of a ‘home away from home’ at ALUMA, backed by the international standards of perfection and excellence,” added Raviv.

According to Isrotel, the Skylark hotel will be followed by the Anise Hotel, also in Athens, a month later. An additional hotel in Athens and one in Thessaloniki will open by the end of 2024. They said the total investment in the project is 70 million euros, with plans to expand elsewhere in Europe in the future.

Isrotel has 23 hotels across Israel, including eight in the resort town of Eilat in the south of Israel. Their international move comes as Israel’s National Planning and Construction Council announced this week the changes to the city’s height limitations for hotels, allowing up to 20 floors from the previously permitted eight floors.

Tourism Minister Haim Katz praised the move, saying, “We are bringing good news to Eilat. Hundreds and even thousands of rooms will be added in the city. The move will encourage competition, remove excess bureaucracy for a hotel that wants to renew itself, and allow entrepreneurs who have not yet built to increase supply.”

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Investment Firm Announces Recommendations for Preventing Corporate Anti-Israel Bias

Illustrative Anti-Israel event. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Morningstar, Inc., a Chicago based investment firm managing over $250 billion in assets, has issued a report including several recommendations for reducing anti-Israel bias in the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ratings its Sustainalytics subsidiary assigns to corporations.

For several years, Sustainalytics gave poor ESG ratings to Israel affiliated companies, a practice that led Jewish civil rights groups and lawmakers to suspect that the company was violating state laws against engaging in the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, which aims to isolate and weaken the Jewish state.

The firm denied the allegations, but a review of the its ratings by JLens, a leading Jewish investor network, found that Sustainalytics created “BDS blacklists” and used in its internal reports “politicized anti-Israel language” to describe Israel. JLens’ work, which was the first to raise alarms about the issue, led to Morningstar’s cracking down on the practices and adopting policies for ensuring that Sustainalytics does not become a BDS collaborator.

Released on Jan. 31, Morningstar’s new report builds on that commitment, outlining several policy changes, including: eliminating a designation which identified companies as being involved in “occupied territories/disputed region,” quashing reliance on disinformative media reports aimed at distorting a company’s ESG rating, and appointing legal experts to examine matters relevant to international human rights law.

“We welcome Morningstar’s commitment to eliminate anti-Israel bias in Sustainalytics research products,” Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement on Wednesday. “We look forward to ongoing engagement with Morningstar to ensure the expert recommendations are fully and effectively implemented.”

The ADL took a leading role in combating anti-Israel bias in ESG ratings, incorporating JLens in Nov. 2022. ADL noted at the time that BDS activists target firms managing ESG rated funds, which attracted over $500 billion in investments in 2021, a 55% increase from the previous year, according to JP Morgan. During 2022’s proxy season, a time when publicly traded companies hold annual meetings to assess performance and weigh suggestions from shareholders, Israel was named in eight of 20 resolutions targeting foreign governments, “making the country only second to China.”

Morningstar’s recommendations will shield ESG from political bias and increase its reliability, Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law founder and chairman Kenneth L. Marcus explained in a statement applauding the report.

“Anti-Israel external forces are doing everything they can to infiltrate campuses, boardrooms, the [United Nations]., sports leagues, and the securities industry,” he said. “We commend Morningstar for engaging with us, examining their ESG product, and committing to make the changes necessary to ensure that their rating system is apolitical, objective, and honest. We believe that implementing the experts’ report is critical to achieving this goal.”

Ari Hoffnung, managing director of JLens, added that “investor are entitled to research that is both objective and devoid of any anti-Israel bias.”

Last July, Morningstar removed 109 negative “controversy ratings” that Sustainalytics subsidiary had given to companies operating in Israel. The firm has also stopped referring to the West Bank and East Jerusalem as ‘Occupied Palestinian Territory’ or ‘occupied territory” and committed to educating its employees about antisemitism and amassing information about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from “independent, recognized experts.”

Morningstar, however, has repeatedly denied that it ever supported BDS. In June 2022, Morningstar CEO Kunal Kapoor issued a statement arguing that an external review of Sustainalytics found no evidence that it “encouraged divestment from Israel” but acknowledged that at least one of its departments singled out businesses “linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” and “sometimes used inflammatory language and failed to provide sourcing attribution clearly and consistently.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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