This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/371

Candidate for president of non existent country Mahmoud Abbas: calling Israel the "Zionist enemy" was 'slip of the tongue'

What Part of 'Death to the Jews!' didn't you understand ? Abbas pledges to promote the safety & security of Al Aqsa Martyrs brigade
January 7, 2005


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http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002136293_mideast31.html

Zakaria Zubeidi, left, local leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, helps lift Mahmoud Abbas, center, yesterday at the Jenin refugee camp on the West Bank. The militant Zubeidi's support for Abbas, the front-runner in the Jan. 9 election for Palestinian Authority president, concerns Israel, which has been quietly backing Abbas.

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MIM : Note the position of Zubeidi's and the other man's hand on Abbas's groin. What appears to be a 'publicly furtive' grope could actually being the swearing of allegiance to Abbas. In ancient times the placing of a man's hand on another man's testicles was part of making an oath. Hence the word 'testimony' .. http://64.233.187.104/search?q=cache:GESAD0rg95cJ:www.innvista.com/health/anatomy/testes.htm+oath+testicles&hl=en

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True Lies

MIM: It is perversely amusing to note that Israeli and American politicians are expressing dismay that their designated 'poster boy of Arab moderation' and candidate for president of a non existent country has turned out to have feet of clay. Indeed Abbas was 'swept off his feet' but a crowd of Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade suicide bombing recruiters who declared him to be 'their hero'. For his part Abbas told the crowd that "The militants are freedom fighters" -"They should live a dignified and safe life ".

Besides the political PR gaffes of being photographed smiling and waving on the shoulders of wanted terrorists and murderers, and calling Israel the "Zionist enemy" Abbas's US and Israeli promoters should have told him that the white and green Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade shawl around his neck clashes with his dark suit and tie.

In any case, Abbas and his supporters needn't worry, it's hard to lose an election for the presidency of a fictitious country.

Who were those other candidates again?

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http://iafrica.com/news/worldnews/402437.htm

MIDDLE EAST
Abbas says Zionist enemy remark a slip
Posted Fri, 07 Jan 2005

Palestinian presidential vote frontrunner Mahmud Abbas admitted in an interview published on Friday that his reference to Israel as the "Zionist enemy" in a recent speech was an unfortunate slip of the tongue.

The PLO chair, who is viewed as a moderate and has the tacit backing of the United States, was chided by Washington for his words, which he uttered after seven young Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip.

"In such dramatic circumstances, one doesn't always control one's words," Abbas said in an interview with Israel's top-selling Yediot Aharonot daily.

"We pray for the souls of our martyrs who fell today in the Zionist enemy's tank shelling in Beit Lahia," Abbas had said Tuesday.

Washington, which has traditionally lent its support to the moderate leader, chided him over his comments.

"It is our view that such rhetoric has no place in the process of resuming dialogue and rebuilding trust and confidence between Israelis and Palestinians," a US spokesperson said.

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"...BBC News carried an interesting item on Blair's trip that shines a little of the cold light of reality on the enthusiasm of Black and his political and media colleagues: reporting on the visit, then impending, a reporter in the northern West Bank town of Jenin asked Zachariya Zubeidi, who heads the al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigades in Jenin and essentially runs this besieged, isolated town, if he thought anything would come of the Blair trip. "Who is Tony Blair?" was Zubeidi's response"...

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Abbas Not Made in D.C.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1104722398545

Two of the Palestinian Authority's leading commentators on Monday defended PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) for embracing Fatah gunmen during his election campaign and condemned the US for expressing concern over the move.

During a visit to the Jenin refugee camp last Thursday, Abbas met with Zakariya Zubeidi, the local commander of Fatah's armed wing Aksa Martyrs Brigades, who is wanted by Israel for his role in terrorism. Zubeidi carried Abbas on his shoulders as scores of gunmen chanted slogans in his support.

And over the weekend, Abbas, during an election campaign tour, received a hero's welcome by hundreds of Fatah gunmen in Gaza City and the Rafah refugee camp. They, too, hoisted him on their shoulders.

Abbas later declared that he would defend the gunmen against any attempt by Israel to kill or capture them.

"The picture of Zakariya Zubeidi with Abu Mazen was a message of peace and freedom which the US failed to understand," said Adli Sadek, a prominent commentator from the Gaza Strip.

"The US, which has aggressive instincts and is an occupation force that is killing innocent people in Iraq, has never read the content of messages emanating from a national resistance movement in any country."

Writing in the PA's daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, Sadek hailed Zubeidi as "a Palestinian resistance fighter who didn't invade anyone's land and didn't turn terrorism into a profession."

In response to remarks made earlier this week by outgoing US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who said he was "disturbed" by the scene of Abbas campaigning on the shoulders of terrorists, Sadek said: "Zubeidi and all the other resistance fighters are defending themselves against a terrorist occupation.

"It is disgraceful that a superpower is denying a people suffering under occupation the right to resist in defense of their soil and dignity."

Sadek warned the US against falling under the illusion that Abbas would serve as an American puppet. "If they think so, then the Americans are wrong and stupid," he added.

"Abu Mazen was made in Palestine. He's not [Iraqi Prime Minister] Iyad Alawi or [Afghan President Hamid] Karzai."

He pointed out that the task of the new Palestinian leader would be to represent all walks of Palestinian society. "The resistance fighters are the most noble in this society," he explained. "They carry the message of peace, security and freedom. As for the occupiers, they are the terrorists first and foremost [Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon."

Hasan al-Batal, another commentator closely affiliated with the PA, praised the participation of the gunmen in Abbas's election campaign as a democratic phenomenon.

"There's nothing more delightful than the merging of the democracy of the rifles with the democracy of the ballot boxes," he wrote in the PA's official organ Al-Ayyam.

"The architect of the Oslo Accords [Abbas] never imagined that the people in the Rafah refugee camp would chant, 'After the old man Abu Amar [Arafat], Abu Mazen is the choice.'"


Gunmen from the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades show their weapons in the West Bank town of Jenin during a rally in support of Mahmoud Abbas, the Fatah candidate to the upcoming Palestinian presidential elections

Shame on Us

By Frank J. Gaffney Jr

http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=42282

Ronald Reagan had a favorite expression: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!" Official Washington's enthusiasm for the ascendancy of Mahmoud Abbas as the Palestinians' incipient "elected" president surely deserves a Reaganesque "shame on us" rebuke.

After all, Abbas (who also goes by the moniker Abu Mazen), was the right hand man of Yasser Arafat for the better part of four decades. Not surprisingly, since the death of his mentor, Abu Mazen has been faithfully replicating the ruse Arafat perpetrated with such telling effect: Fooling the West, and many Israelis, into believing they had found a reliable "partner for peace" when, in fact, their interlocutor was no such thing.

The long-time terrorist founder of the Palestine Liberation Organization shamefully engaged in doublespeak, mouthing platitudes about his desire for peace with Israel in English. At the same time, he exhorted his Arabic-speaking audiences to persist in murderous jihadist operations against Israeli civilian and military targets.

In September 1993, on the eve of the Oslo Accords' signing ceremony, Arafat actually told Egyptian and Jordanian media that such documents were not the end of the struggle to liberate all of "Palestine" including Israeli territory before the 1967 Six-Day War. Rather, they were part of the PLO's "phased plan," a two-stage strategy adopted in 1974, whereby Israel would be destroyed only after the Palestinians obtained a state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Clinton administration not only allowed itself to be duped by Arafat's double-dealing. It became an enabler, serially denying the inconvenient evidence of his treachery in the hope that eventually he would morph into the peacemaker they insisted he had become.

The Israeli government was complicit in perpetrating this emperor's-new-clothes-style fraud. On one particularly memorable occasion, then-Foreign Minister Shimon Peres was confronted with videos of Arafat inciting violence against the Jews. He dismissed them as "fabrications." When Arafat was subsequently asked about their authenticity, he declared, with characteristic shamelessness, that they were genuine articles.

After Arafat turned down Ehud Barak's overly magnanimous offer of a Palestinian state and unleashed the second intifada, even his most determined apologists found it harder and harder to conceal his true intentions. The man who defeated and replaced Barak as prime minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, refused to deal with Arafat, as did President Clinton's successor, George W. Bush.

The peace processors then applied themselves to construing among Arafat's minions a "man of peace" with whom new deals could be struck. Mahmoud Abbas was elevated to be the "prime minister" of the so-called Palestinian Authority. A good-cop, bad-cop routine ensued with Abu Mazen playing the role of the moderate man-Israel-could-do-business-with to Arafat's despotic irreconcilable.

A falling out, nominally over control of the Palestinian "security services," resulted in the anointing of another Arafat crony, Ahmed Qurie, as premier. Under Arafat, however, both men did as he did maintaining working relations with Islamist and other terrorist organizations. Abbas and Qurie proved unable, if not simply unwilling, to end terrorism and destroy its infrastructure, as President Bush demanded in June 2002, along with a new leadership "not compromised by terror," as preconditions for U.S. recognition of a Palestinian state.

Unfortunately, the death of Yasser Arafat appears to have obscured all recollection that his subordinates, and particularly Mahmoud Abbas, hued faithfully to his perfidious double-dealing. Today, Abbas is portrayed much as Arafat was 14 years ago a man committed to ending the armed struggle against Israel and willing to live side-by-side in peace with her.

To be sure, Abu Mazen has made statements to that effect. He has, for instance, said that "the use of weapons is unacceptable because it has a negative impact on our image." Such quotes have been repeated and amplified by many of those who were fooled before. In so doing, though, they are once again choosing to overlook, or discount, the ominous implications of other Abbas statements and actions very similar to Arafat's calls to jihad and the destruction of the Jewish state.

For example, on Christmas Day, Abbas declared, "I will not use weapons against any Palestinian," noting that "Israel calls them [the terrorists] murderers, but we call them strugglers" and "freedom fighters." He has gone even further, calling the suicide bombers "martyrs." And, far from cracking down on those who arm and direct such terrorists, he has pledged to "protect them from assassination, to protect them from killing" by the Israelis.

No less inconvenient is the fact that Abbas asserts there will be "no peace" with Israel as long as the security fence exists and "settlements" occupy Arab land. He has also made a precondition of an Israeli release of all Palestinian prisoners, including those with blood on their hands. He has pledged to insist on nothing less than a Palestinian state that comprises all of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He says, "We cannot compromise on Jerusalem." Abu Mazen promises that the 4.5 million Palestinians he deems to be "refugees" will also be allowed to return to "their homes inside Israel" a calculated instrument for achieving the demographic, if not physical, destruction of the Jewish state.

Once again, the apologists are protesting that Abbas only called Israel "the Zionist enemy" after an Israeli tank fired two shells in response to Palestinian mortar attacks. They profess unconcern that Abu Mazen has publicly embraced wanted terrorists like Zakariya Zubeidi. (Zubeidi's support should not be surprising. Not only is Abbas promising to continue "the struggle," he heads Fatah, the umbrella organization that spawned the terrorist Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, whose Jenin branch Zubeidi commands.)

In fairness, Secretary of State Powell did say recently on the NBC Sunday program "Meet the Press," that he found Abbas' remarks "disturbing" and reiterated that the Palestinian terror must cease. "If they don't move in that direction, then we're going to be stuck again. So we need reformed Palestinian leadership that deals with this terrorist threat" including by "undertak[ing] operations against [the terrorists]."

Sound familiar? It should. These admonitions are of a piece with those that were routinely issued to Yasser Arafat when he was fooling us.

We will continue to be fooled as long as Israel, the United States and the West more generally are willing to go along with the pretense that Palestinian leaders: are not compromised by terror when they are; are prepared to crack down on terrorists when they embrace and applaud them; are willing to make concessions most especially, accepting Israel's right to exist, as U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 put it, "within secure and defensible borders" when they insist they will not do so.

The difference this time is that the shame will lie squarely on us for allowing this fraud to be perpetrated yet again. That shame will be the greater both in terms of lives and, potentially, in jeopardizing the security of the state of Israel if we compound it by dignifying what amounts to another one-candidate election as legitimate, and allow it to become a stepping-stone to the creation of the newest state-sponsor of terror, "Palestine."

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AM - Abbas's election tactics confuse analysts

http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2005/s1278355.htm]

AM - Friday, 7 January

Reporter: Mark Willacy

ELEANOR HALL: When Palestinians place their votes for a new leader this weekend, former Palestinian Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas, is the man most likely to emerge the winner.

Mr Abbas is widely described as an intellectual, a moderate, and a leader with whom Israel could forge a peace deal.

But during the election campaign the mild-mannered politician, who has in the past condemned the armed Palestinian struggle, has confounded many with his fiery speeches and close association with wanted militants.

So is Mahmoud Abbas just playing for votes, or have Israeli leaders misread the man they've said is a possible peace partner?

Middle East Correspondent Mark Willacy reports from Jerusalem.

MARK WILLACY: He's still wearing his trademark business suit to his campaign rallies, but slung around Mahmoud Abbas's neck these days is the flag of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the militant group responsible for dozens of shooting attacks and suicide bombings.

The 69-year old lawyer and political apparatchik is usually described as moderate, pragmatic, even bland. But in election speeches Mahmoud Abbas has sharpened his rhetoric in an effort to blunt his dour image.

(sounds from street rally)

In this speech in Gaza this week the frontrunner for the Palestinian presidency denounced an Israeli attack which killed seven teenagers as a strike by the "Zionist enemy", a phrase more commonly heard from the leaders of the Islamic militant group, Hamas.

Mahmoud Abbas's language has surprised Israeli political leaders, most of whom regard the PLO chief as their best chance for peace.

Silvan Shalom is Israel's Foreign Minister.

SILVAN SHALOM: He's using now terms that were never, were not heard for a very long time.

MARK WILLACY: Saman Khoury is the head of the Palestinian Peace and Democracy Forum.

While Mahmoud Abbas's rhetoric has attracted much comment, Mr Khoury believes it's all part of an open, democratic election process.

SAMAN KHOURY: People would like to hear different views and people would like to challenge the different views in ballot boxes rather than by the use of force.

MARK WILLACY: One of the reasons Israel is supportive of Mahmoud Abbas is because of his condemnation of the use of arms in the Palestinian uprising.

And during the campaign the PLO chief has called on militants in Gaza to stop firing rockets at Israeli targets, complaining it's counter-productive and actually led to the deaths of Palestinian children.

But during the past few weeks Mr Abbas has also reached out to the militants.

(Mahmoud Abbas speaking)

"The militants are freedom fighters", he tells this crowd. "They should be protected and live a dignified and safe life", he says.

In response the militants have embraced Mahmoud Abbas.

During a visit to Jenin he was even hoisted on the shoulders of Zakaria Zubeidi, an al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades leader Israel is desperate to kill.

But in the end, most Palestinians will be voting for Mahmoud Abbas because of his image as a peacemaker, not a rabble-rouser.

As one Palestinian remarked this week, "Arafat was a soldier who wore a uniform, Abbas is a politician so it's better for him to wear a suit."

This is Mark Willacy in Jerusalem for AM.

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http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1104376739442

Onlookers on the rooftop of the Secondary School for Boys belly-flopped to the floor when the band of 20 al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades' gunmen popped off dozens of rounds from their M-16s.

The audience of about 2,000 that crowded inside the school's central courtyard Thursday to witness Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas's first campaign stop in Jenin first flinched, then clutched their ears and hoped the arcing bullets would land elsewhere.

"That is our greeting to [PLO Executive Committee Chairman Mahmud Abbas] Abu Mazen," crowed Zakariya Zubeidi, al-Aksa's West Bank leader, into a microphone he had wrested from the MC's hands. Then his men loosed another ear-splitting fusillade directly over the Abbas silver-haired head.

Zubeidi's version of the 21-gun salute was as much a warning as a welcome to the Palestinian leader.

Polls give Abbas an easy victory in the January 9 elections for Palestinian Authority chairman, but his real challenge, say Fatah militants and analysts, will be reining in wayward and word-weary militants like Zubeidi. As Zubeidi the de facto mayor of this town likes to say, "when the guns speak, the talking heads are rendered mute."

Like many Fatah functionaries, Zubeidi is openly suspicious of Abbas and his entourage. For starters, Zubeidi's people know little of the shy man who says he will lead them to independence.

As indicated by the pictures pasted all over the Jenin refugee camp, these men preferred Yasser Arafat. Frequent threats of assassination and the consequent bolstering of his security detail shield Abbas from the Palestinian rank-and-file a class which Zubeidi conquered long ago.

But more troubling are Abbas's politics. His perceived catering to Israel and his willingness to negotiate with the Ariel Sharon administration is seen as threatening.

Lounging at the stoop of a refugee camp house after the rally, Zubeidi told the Post, "Let us be clear. I do not support the political path of Abu Mazen. I support him, because I support the Fatah candidate."

He also seemed to dump Abbas's calls for quiet, saying that "al-Aksa must avenge the death of Tha'er [Zubeidi's chief lieutenant, killed last week]. But we will wait for the right time and place.

Abbas's strength rests on the support of the higher ranks in the PLO and Fatah, not on his own popularity, says Palestinian analyst Iyad al-Malki. During Abbas's brief tenure as PA prime minister last year, Fatah radicals barred him from so much as entering the city. But on Thursday, Zubeidi seemed to offer Abbas a touch of redemption, guiding his car through Jenin's streets with almost filial tenderness. At one point, just outside the Jenin refugee camp's cemetery, he even lifted the 69-year-old leader onto his shoulders.

And indeed, between bursts of automatic gunfire, Zubeidi used the rally to publicly voice his support for Fatah's candidate. Said Zubeidi: "Abu Mazen is a Palestinian symbol. [Bang! Bang!] "Al-Aksa will support our candidate." [Bang! Bang!]

Yet, like Zubeidi, many of Jenin's residents on Thursday conditioned their tepid support for Abbas on promises he might not be able to keep.

Before the rally began, Muhammed Shawish, 35, waiting for a glimpse of Abbas at the school's gate, rattled off four issues that he said would guarantee his vote for Abbas: the release of prisoners, repatriating refugees, creating a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem, and the protection of wanted militants.

And Abbas seemed to make all the necessary stops and utter the necessary phrases to please the crowd. His enormous motorcade's first stop in the city was the "martyrs'" cemetery in the refugee camp, a place immortalized in April 2002's Operation Defensive Shield. There Zubeidi had organized neat rows of militants as an honor guard for the new leader.

Yet when uniformed PA security forces crept in, Zubeidi shooed them away as if they were ill-disciplined toddlers.

When during the rally, Abbas finally stepped to the make-shift podium actually the school's front steps he proffered just what Muhammed Shawish had requested. Chief among the Palestinians' worries are the refugees, Abbas told the crowd, "then comes the issue of the prisoners."

Abbas then told the rather unimpressed crowd, that "we will continue the path of peace according to the desires of the Palestinian people."

In the interview after the rally, Zubeidi observed that, while important, "these issues are in the hands of Israel, not the PA. But what Abu Mazen must do is keep those issues at the top of the agenda."

Zubeidi's and other Fatah men who switched their allegiance from jailed Fatah boss Marwan Barghouti to Abbas now "understand that Fatah needs to unify in order to survive," said Malki. What's more, "a poor showing in the elections could spell the end of Fatah's supremacy," he warned.

Also at stake are jobs. Sipping on his coffee, Zubeidi admitted for the first time that he would like a position in the future Palestinian polity.

"I only look forward to taking a role in the next Palestinian leadership, where I will continue to fight for the Palestinians."

Nevertheless, the tensions between the old and new, the bureaucrats and the firebrands, remain. Despite Abbas's best efforts, when the rally and the ballistic fireworks ended, it was Zubeidi's name, and not Abbas's, that the crowd chanted.

Abbas's aides murmured afterwards, "With support like this who needs rivals."

But not everyone sees it like Zubeidi. In the martyrs' cemetery, where a dozen mounds of dirt cover the remains of Zubeidi's former lieutenants assassinated by Israel, an old woman had arrived to catch a glimpse of Abbas paying his respects to the dead.

Her son, she pointed to a mound, was "here." She supports "Abu Mazen because I have no more tears to cry. I am sick of all the dying and the bullets."

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MIM:It appears that anyone who blinked missed the election right along with the candidates .

http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20050109-053243-4309r.htm

Three of the candidates are members of three different political factions; Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah candidate, Tayseer Khaled of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Bassam Salhi of the Palestinian People's Party candidate. The other four candidates are independent candidates, although some of them are linked to the Islamist movements.

According to the most recent polls, Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, is the top contender.

The candidates include:

Mahmoud Abbas, 69 years old, the architect of the Oslo peace accords, signed between Israel and the PLO in 19993. He was born in the city of Safad before the creation of the state of Israel, in 1935, and became a refugee in 1948. After the establishment of Israel Abbas and his family took refuge in Syria. He earned a B.A. in Law from Syria. He earned his PhD in the history of Zionist Movement in Moscow, where he wrote several political books.

Together with Arafat Abbas founded Fatah, where both men worked together in Jordan, Lebanon, and Tunis. He became the Secretary General of the PLO in 1995.

He is considered a moderate. He is one of the top Palestinian leaders who launched a dialogue with Jewish figures in the early 1970s. Abbas accompanied Arafat to the White House in 1993 to sign the Oslo agreement.

He was the first Palestinian prime minister, but resigned after 100 days following a dispute with Arafat. After Arafat's death he became his successor as a chairman of the PLO. Abbas was criticized by Palestinian militants when he called for demilitarizing the Palestinian itifada.

In his election campaign he called for the end of the Israeli occupation, the release of prisoners and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital. He also called for a fair solution to the Palestinian refugees and dismantling of Jewish settlements in Palestinian areas.

He believes that establishing the independent Palestinian state would only be achieved through peaceful negotiations and not through violence. He called for establishing an institutional Palestinian state on democracy and implementing discipline and law.

Tayseer Khaled, 63 years old, member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine is from the northern West Bank town of Nablus. He is a member of the PLO executive committee. He was a member of the finding committee of the PLO in 1969, and was a member of the central committee of the PLO.

He spent most of his life in exile in Syria, Lebanon and other Arab countries. He became a member of the Palestinian National Council, the parliament in exile in 1973 and became a member of the PLO executive committee in the meeting of the PLO held in Algeria in 1990.

He is considered as one of the prominent Palestinian political writers -- he wrote a series of political books. His election program focuses on ending the occupation, the right of Palestinian refugees to return, demolishing the security wall that Israel built in the West Bank and going for serious reforms in the Palestinian associations.

Bassam Salhi is Secretary General of the Palestinian People's Party, the former Communist Party since 2003. He is a well-known democratic personality. He is the founder of national democratic institutions. His family are refugees from Lod, a city in Israel. He was born in 1960 and grew in a refugee camp near Ramallah. He now lives in al Beera. He earned a master degree in international studies and he has written many books and political articles.

He was a member of the Palestinian national leadership of the intifada and was sentenced to three years imprisonment in 1990 in Israeli jails.

Mustafa Barghouti, 51 years old, was born in Jerusalem and active in the fields of human rights. He is the head of the Palestinian Initiative Association. He is opposing the political attitude of the Palestinian Authority.

Abdel Halim al Ashqar is 46 years old, from Tulkarem in the West Bank. He holds a PhD is engineering and was a lecturer at the Islamic University of Gaza. He lives in the United States. He has worked at Virginia University for 15 years. The U.S. has accused him of fund raising to support Islamist movements like Hamas and Islamic Jihad. He is now under home arrest in the U.S. He calls for ending the occupation and solving the Palestinian question according to international resolutions. He rejects disarming the Palestinian militants, and believes that Palestinian resistance would achieve independence.

Sheikh Sayed Baraka is 48 years old. He is a director in the Palestinian Youth and Sport Ministry. He was born in a small village east of the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis. He worked as a teacher in Algeria and Gaza.

Abdulkareem Shubeir: 52 years old from the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis, known as close to the Islamist movement. He calls for an end of the occupation and the continuation of armed resistance until the end of the occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state. He calls for national dialogue and reconciliation between all the Palestinian political and militants groups.

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Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades Backs Abbas in Palestinian vote

http://www.aljazeera.com/cgi-bin/news_service/middle_east_full_story.asp?service_id=5857

Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades movement has endorsed the head of the PLO Mahmoud Abbas to succeed the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the presidential elections planned for January 9.

"We announce our commitment and complete support to our brother Abu Mazen (Abbas) who we believe will implement the will of the Palestinian people," Al Aqsa Brigades said in a statement.

The move comes one day after jailed West Bank leader Marwan Barghuti withdrew from the Palestinian election race and declared his support to Abbas.

Barghouti is the head of the Fatah group's young guard, which has been demanding reforms and an opportunity to seize leadership positions currently held by older politicians.

Many backers of Barghouti, 45, had been demanding him to run for the elections, scheduled for Jan. 9, from the Israeli jail where he is currently serving five life terms.

Abbas, 69, was chosen last week as Fatah's official candidate to succeed the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. He is believed to be the candidate most favored by the United States and Israel.

Fatah announced Friday that it would hold party election in August in a bid to convince Barghouti to drop his plans for the elections.

"A whole generation within Fatah was marginalized, and now it will be able to be represented," said Mohammed Hourani, a young Fatah leader.

Al-Aqsa's statement also called upon the Palestinians to unite and demanded the implementation of reforms, especially within Fatah.

"We appeal for national unity and the continuation of efforts to organize the Palestinian house in order to thwart all the attempts by the enemy whose aim is to create internal conflict," the statement said.

"We call for more democracy in Palestinian society both in general and inside the (Fatah) movement, in order to implement the democratic choice at all levels of the movement and ... and to fight corruption." It added.

On Friday, up to 1,000 Palestinians, including scores of Al Aqsa members, demonstrated in the Balata refugee camp for the continuation of the uprising and declared their support for Abbas.

Barghouti is the head of the Fatah group's young guard, which has been demanding reforms and an opportunity to seize leadership positions currently held by older politicians.

Many backers of Barghouti, 45, had been demanding him to run for the elections, scheduled for Jan. 9, from the Israeli jail where he is currently serving five life terms.

Abbas, 69, was chosen last week as Fatah's official candidate to succeed the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. He is believed to be the candidate most favored by the United States and Israel.

Fatah announced Friday that it would hold party election in August in a bid to convince Barghouti to drop his plans for the elections.

"A whole generation within Fatah was marginalized, and now it will be able to be represented," said Mohammed Hourani, a young Fatah leader.

Al-Aqsa's statement also called upon the Palestinians to unite and demanded the implementation of reforms, especially within Fatah.

"We appeal for national unity and the continuation of efforts to organize the Palestinian house in order to thwart all the attempts by the enemy whose aim is to create internal conflict," the statement said.

"We call for more democracy in Palestinian society both in general and inside the (Fatah) movement, in order to implement the democratic choice at all levels of the movement and ... and to fight corruption." It added.

On Friday, up to 1,000 Palestinians, including scores of Al Aqsa members, demonstrated in the Balata refugee camp for the continuation of the uprising and declared their support for Abbas.

Related stories...

This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/371