Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Fatah conference achieves nothing

A couple of days ago I read an article in the Jewish World Review about the Fatah Conference that was just starting. It was not particularly optimistic about the organization, which seems to be divided and demoralized, unable to recover from losing Gaza to Hamas in two goes - a somewhat indecisive election result and a far more decisive and bloody coup.
Fatah leaders have been feuding over allegations that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah's Mohammed Dahlan conspired with Israel to kill Arafat — charges the two deny as scurrilous.

Hamas, Fatah's hard-line Islamic rival, which wrested electoral control of the Palestinian Authority in 2006 and then routed Abbas' forces from Gaza in 2007, hasn't allowed anyone living in the isolated Mediterranean strip to attend the conference.

Many Palestinians have lost faith in a political party they consider corrupt, inept and ineffective.
Then again, I thought, the JWR is a good source of information but it is not likely to be supportive of either Fatah or Hamas. (The article is, nevertheless, fair-minded.)

Let us see what Al-Jazeera has to say on the subject. Oooops, not good. Divisions, screaming matches, accusations, counter-accusations and, above all, the absence of 400 Fatah activists from Gaza. (Actually, I am amazed that 400 are still alive and more or less free there.)
The Fatah conference suffered a blow before it began after Hamas, which effectively rules the Gaza Strip, refused to allow 400 Fatah delegates based in Gaza to attend unless Fatah releases hundreds of Hamas activists detained in the West Bank.

The conference has split Fatah delegates from Fatah-controlled West Bank and those from Hamas-run Gaza.The Gaza delegates now demand a quota be set aside for them in Fatah's leadership bodies, and threaten repercussions - presumably a split - if they are turned down.

The West Bankers say the absent Gazans can vote by phone or e-mail and do not need the quotas.

Abbas is to decide on the issue later on Thursday.
That election of the new leadership bodies should produce some interesting results, assuming it ever happens. The BBC gives a summary of Middle Eastern media opinion and calls it upbeat. I wouldn't agree with that. There seems to be a great deal of depression at the Palestinians' inability to agree on anything and Fatah's inability to turn itself into a reasonable political organization, not to mention Hamas's somewhat high-handed behaviour.

Ynet News confirms both the argument about the method of voting and the fact that the conference has been extended.

I wonder if President Obama on his holiday or Secretary of State Clinton on her African trip is watching developments.


  1. They really lost their legiitimacy in the US when they went mute on Clinton's priapism.My wife then threw all their fundraising mail in the garbage,unread. It became clear their ostensible beliefs were a cover for something else.

  2. renminbi: I thnk you commented on the wrong thread. :)

    More from the Fatah conference: 'Palestinian rift worse than Israel'

    Apparently the meeting of the "moderates" was opened by Ahmed Quray with the words: "In the name of the shahids and in the name of Jerusalem, the capital of the Palestinian state, we declare the opening of the sixth convention of our movement, Fatah.”

    And this statement came from another of the moderate participants.