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Zubeidi: Unity should be regained by power and force if necessary

Aug. 7, 2009 12:13 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 8, 2009 3:08 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma’an - Palestinians should regain unity with Gaza even if strength and power is used former Al-Aqsa Brigades fighter Zakariya Zubeidi said during a speech to the Sixth Fatah Congress in Bethlehem Thursday.

“If we fail to achieve this, leaders should give their places up so a new generation can lead the Palestinians to victory,” he said in his speech, which was received with a standing ovation by conference delegates.

He called on Fatah delegates to develop a “clear struggle program” and organize “popular, serious commitment” to a resistance movement during a speech he delivered Thursday night.

The speech Zubeidi delivered was a critical assessment of the party, with frank statements that made clear where he hoped the movement would go in the coming years. “During 18 years of negotiations [under Fatah]” he said, “no hope has been created.” He conintued, “what has been created is an extremist Israeli society that is now behind the opposition to peace…Palestinians must be prepared to take on the responsibility of protecting the land.”

Controversy surrounded Zubeidi’s presence at the conference during its first day, with the prominent former fighter, who renounced the use of violence in an “amnesty” deal with Israel which saw the state end their pursuit of the man, being denied entry into the congress. Registrars told him his name was not on the list, sparking harsh reactions from other former fighters and rumors that the conference was being manipulated to excise those who might promote resistance activities.

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