The Fatah organization that is part of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) had its Seventh General Assembly last week in Ramallah, the first in 20 years! It was chaired by the President of the PA, Fatah Head Mahmud Abbas. There were three main decisions of the meeting, first was the election of the next leader. Unsurprisingly, Mahmud Abbas was reelected for another 5 year term, even though he is 82 years old! Then there were the elections for the two bodies that carry the decisions of the Assembly forward, namely the Central Committee and the Revolutionary Council. At the Meeting there was much talk of “reconciliation,” but not between the Palestinians and Israel, but rather between Fatah and Hamas, the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood that controls Gaza and is an extreme Islamist organization.
Both the Central Committee and the Revolutionary Council are actually deadlocked over who should succeed Abbas, which is why he was re-elected. In fact, one of the main contenders, Mohammed Dahlan and his many supporters were banned from attending the meeting. Dahlan was the former Fatah Head of Security in Gaza and currently lives in the UAE. There are reports that the “moderate” Sunni Arab States, of Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, have selected Dahlan to replace Abbas. This represents another split in the Palestinian movement. Another possible successor is Marwan Barghouti, who is imprisoned for life in Israel for terrorism, for the murder to many Israelis, but who nevertheless has a seat on the Central Committee together with other terrorists.
The main policy conclusion of the meeting was the decision to press forward with the PA application to the UN for the recognition of a Palestinian State, without negotiations with Israel. In fact, Abbas announced that the PA would join all other international agencies that it has not already joined in order to enhance that process.
We should easily be able to tell what are the intentions of the Palestinians, of which Fatah is the leading organization, from the proceedings of the meeting. If that is the case then the future looks bleak. There was not one iota of compromise with Israel in this meeting. There was nothing about the two-state solution or even the mention of peace, it was all about anti-Israel strategy. Yet, good liberals still support the Palestinians, it is a mystery.