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Fatah tells Iran armed struggle is strategic option

A senior Fatah official has told the Iranian government that the movement reserves the right to resort to armed struggle should negotiations with Israel fail. Executive Committee member Jebreel Al-Rajoub claimed that he was passing on a message from Fatah and PA leader Mahmoud Abbas.

However, Al-Rajoub's statement on Iran's Arabic-language TV channel Al-Alam, contradicts Abbas's oft-repeated insistence that he does not accept the armed struggle option. Most recently, Abbas told Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth that the Palestinians are "neighbours" of the Israelis. "We have witnessed several wars with each other," said Abbas. "I pray to Allah that these wars have ended and became something of the past." He also prayed that the "use of force had become something from the past, too."

In his interview the PA president committed Palestinian security services to cooperate with their Israeli and the US counterparts "completely". This, he insisted, is to fight against the use of arms in the struggle.

"We want peace with Israel," said Abbas. "We hope that the Israelis live securely and safely in their country. We also want the Palestinians to live in an independent state."

Observers look at Al-Rajoub's visit to Tehran as a sign of rapprochement with the Palestinian Authority and Fatah leadership. Their relationship has been almost non-existent for the past decade, with Iran favouring the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, which opposes the so-called peace process and Israel's brutal military occupation.

Iranian support for Hamas has cooled, however, since the start of the war in Syria. The Palestinian movement opposes the regime in Damascus, which is one of Iran's main allies in the region.

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