Geneva Initiative Annexes
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Palestinian Fatah General Assembly - facts and figures

News from the Sixth Fatah Congress from a collection of sources

 

The Daily Star (18.08.09)
Signs that Fatah is moving toward becoming a normal political party were ample. Gone were the khaki suits and militaristic paraphernalia – replaced by business suits and proper conference IDs for delegates. Backroom decisions and top-down guidance was replaced by a democratic free-for-all that saw many of Fatah’s historic leaders fall to the wayside, making room for younger, locally popular leaders. Prisoners held in Israeli jails were granted 20 seats in the enlarged 100-member Revolutionary Council. The jailed intifada leader Marwan Barghouti was among the highest elected new leaders to the Central Committee, the movement’s executive body.

The 20-year hiatus since the last congress created a huge gap that was quickly filled by intifada veterans rather than old-style guerrillas, who had dominated the movement since its establishment. Fourteen of the 19 elected members of the Central Committee are first-time members, most of whom represent the leadership of the 1987 uprising in the Occupied Territories. The shifting age and geographic location of the Fatah membership was the reason for the failure of some of Fatah’s historic leaders, such as Ahmad Qorei (Abu Alaa) and Intisar Wazir, the widow of the late Abu Jihad.
Moreover, holding the congress in Palestine ended the role of many Fatah leaders who had opposed the Oslo Accords, such as Farouk Qaddoumi and Mahmoud Jihad. Sidelining men like Qaddoumi, whose accusation, on the eve of the congress, that Abbas and Mohammad Dahlan had helped Israel poison Arafat, also distances Fatah from its one-time alliance with hard-line Arab countries such as Syria and Libya.
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The Media Line (12.08.09)
The ruling party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has voted for sweeping changes in its all-powerful central committee, electing a new generation of leaders known as the ‘young guard’ who won their spurs in two violent uprisings against Israel.
Abbas was re-elected leader but allegations of corruption and vote-rigging proved to be the kiss of death for Ahmed Qurei, the first Palestinian prime minister and chairman of the congress.
“I think that what’s known as the Old Guard in Fatah gave what it could and it has nothing more to give,” Abdullah Abu Hadid, secretary of Fatah in Bethlehem, told The Media Line. “The movement needs to have new blood in its leadership, a young leadership.” A younger generation of 40- and 50-somethings was elected to replace the older leaders, many of whom are now in their 70s.
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Reuters (11.08.09)
BETHLEHEM, West Bank (Reuters) - The Palestinian party Fatah appeared to have strengthened President Mahmoud Abbas and reclaimed legitimacy with voters on Tuesday by unseating much of the "old guard" of the late Yasser Arafat.
Abbas, 74, gambled by calling the first congress of his fractious movement in 20 years, and won when its 2,300 delegates voted in a younger executive that will rejuvenate Fatah and consolidate his position as leader, analysts said.
Senior Fatah members believe it is now in a better position to seek reconciliation with its fierce rival, the Islamist group Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip, restoring some unity to the divided Palestinian cause.
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The Jerusalem Post (04.08.09)
At the opening of Fatah's sixth general assembly Tuesday morning, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that his people must persist with peace negotiations with Israel "as long as there is a tiny bit of hope." He added that Palestinians must not mar their "legitimate struggle with terror."
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Al Arabiya and Agencies, West Bank (04.08.09)
President Mahmoud Abbas opened his Fatah movement's first conference in 20 years on Tuesday, saying Palestinians sought peace with Israel but "resistance" would stay an option. It is the group's first congress to be held on Palestinian soil. The last Fatah congress was held in Tunisia in 1989.
More than 2,000 delegates will seek in three days of talks to adopt a program that distinguishes Fatah from Islamist Hamas which has rejected Western demands to renounce violence and recognize Israel.
"Although peace is our choice, we reserve the right to resistance, legitimate under international law," the Western-backed Abbas said in a policy speech, using a term that encompasses armed confrontation as well as non-violent protests.
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China View (04.08.09)
During the sixth conference since its foundation in 1965, Fatah would elect members for the movement's central committee and the revolutionary council, the highest decision-making bodies.
The Central Committee
The central committee comprises 21 members who should serve Fatah for 15 consecutive years. The General Assembly this year would elect 18 members of the committee through confidential voting and then the new members expand the committee by selecting in majority another three people.
The central committee forms the movement's politburo from 11 of its members and sets the missions and the tasks of the political bureau.
The tasks of the central committee are very wide and nearly involving all Fatah activities. It also nominates Fatah representatives in the Palestinian National Council (PNC).Among other duties, the central committee is to "carry out the general convention and the revolutionary council's decisions and the political platform that the general convention ratifies," according to the movement's organizing code.
Previous Conventions
The first convention was held in Kuwait in 1962 during which the movement draw up its goals, plans and the organizing structure. A number of less major meetings followed that conference, including one in late 1964 when Fatah agreed to declare its foundation on Jan. 1, 1965, and one after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war when Fatah endorsed the military activity and guerrilla fighting against Israel.
The second major conference was held near the Syrian capital Damascus in 1968 in which the members renewed calls for reviving the revolutionary council in the organizing structure to monitor the work of the central committee. The members elected a new central committee of 10 members as well.
In September 1971, Fatah held its third conference following bloody clashes in Jordan and the departure of Fatah and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) from Amman. A new central committee was elected and the movement's internal basic system was ratified. The significant progress at that conference was the opening of the door before Arabs who wanted to join Fatah.
The fourth conference was held in Damascus in 1980 following Israeli threats to attack the PLO in Lebanon. At the time, the 500members of the conference announced that the United States was also a key enemy to the Palestinians and called for a strategic alliance with the Soviet Union.
The fifth conference was held in Tunisia in 1989 with more than1,000 members attending. The conferees agreed to expand the central committee and to appoint a general command for the movement and to increase armed struggle against Israel.
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