Israeli Member of Knesset (MK) Avi Dichter and senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad had a forceful exchange of words over the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) support for terrorism during a session at the Committee on Middle East Questions of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).
The IPU is the global organization of national parliaments with a membership of 179 Member of Parliaments and 13 Associate Members.
Dichter, head of the Knesset’s delegation to the IPU, called on the Union to condemn the transfer of salaries by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to terrorists imprisoned in Israel and to their families, a policy Israel views as the PA’s incentivizing of terrorism.
In response, al-Ahmad announced that the PA “will continue to take care of the prisoners. They are not terrorists” and alleged that arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti “is not a terrorist.”
Dichter replied by pointing out that Barghouti is serving five life sentences for the murder of Israelis.
“This is a murderer and not a man of peace. Beyond that, if this is the perspective of the Palestinians on those who murdered dozens of children and the elderly, we are in trouble,” he added.
Al-Ahmad claimed that the PA is fighting terrorism, but Dichter, former head of the Shin Bet security service, replied that “in all the years of the Palestinian Authority’s existence, there has not been a single case in which a terrorist who murdered Israelis was interrogated by the PA and prosecuted or sentenced to imprisonment and is serving in a Palestinian prison. This is not how we fight terrorism.”
Azzam called for an end to “Israeli occupation” and declared Jerusalem “is the capital of Palestine.” However, he noted that Israel and the Palestinians must live peacefully side by side, but without the mediation and sponsorship of the US.
Dichter wondered “do we live in the same region? It is difficult to cooperate with those who pay a monthly salary of 3,500 euros to convicted murderers.”
Dichter turned to French MP Hubert Julien-Laferrière who took part in the debate and wondered “what would France have done if it had turned out that ‘Carlos the Jackal,’ the famous arch-terrorist in a French prison, received a salary from the Palestinian Authority for being a terrorist?”
Dichter further stressed that Israel would not allow the Gaza Strip to become “a second Lebanon ” with Iran’s support of improving Hamas’ rocket capabilities.
Somalia’s representative on the committee, Ali Ahmad Jama, expressed support for the PA representative’s statement, saying that “the fear of Iran cannot justify the continuation of the occupation. Israel is working against UN resolutions and international law.”
In response, Dichter derided the Somali’s statement by asking to “hear more about the war on terror from countries like Somalia, which has been taken over by the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist organization al-Shabaab.”
Addressing the committee’s chairwoman, Salma Ataullahjan of Canada, Dichter said that “it is impossible that in a forum on the Middle East, there is no discussion focusing on Iran, the terrorist state responsible for instability in the region. Iran, in parallel with the development of nuclear weapons, is investing resources in five terrorist organizations such as Hamas and jihad in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.”
Surprisingly, the Somali representative supported Dichter’s proposal.