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Monday, 3 August 2009

Thoughts on Fatah Convention and Thoughts on Palestine

Bethlehem is a buzz with security preparations for the Fatah conference on Tuesday. The local people I talked to either were indifferent or were worried about inability to reach school or work or do shopping during the days of the conference. The Fatah people I talked to are unsure of how this will go and what will happen. A big segment of the Fatah cadres who are real resistance fighters from abroad or underground will not be able to attend. It is suspicious that Israel is allowing so many others to enter and even facilitated a few to come from Gaza across the green lines to the consternation of Hamas which wanted Fatah to release its political prisoners from West Bank jails before allowing Fatah officials from Gaza to travel to Bethlehem. Fatah, the biggest and most well financed of the Palestinian factions, is certainly at a crossroads. In the time of Arafat, he managed by his sheer personality and charisma to keep the various political factions and trends together under one umbrella (even those supportive of violent resistance and those against it). When Arafat was president and Abu Mazen was prime minister, they did not get along. Farouk Kaddoumi recently dropped a bombshell by releasing a transcript he claimed showed Abu Mazen at a meeting in which Dahlan and Israeli leaders discussed assassinating Arafat. But rumers and stories of the past aside, the future is far harder to shape. More