– PALESTINIAN’S FATAH CONVENTION FIASCO
The Fatah convention in Bethlehem, originally scheduled to end on Thursday 08/06/2009 night, was extended to at least 24 hours since the 2000 delegates failed, so far, to reach any decision except two. The first decision, which was agreed on unanimously, determines that Israel killed Yassar Arafat (Yassar Arafat died in a French army hospital in Paris on 11/11/2004 and the French authorities declined, so far, to fully determine the cause of the death). The second decision was to set up an official Investigating Committee to investigate how he died. According to the decision the committee will ask, for that purpose, for his medical documentations from countries involved. The logic of first to decide that Israel is to be blamed and only then to set up an inquiry to check the facts is typical to the Fatah fiasco – the Bethlehem convention.
Any political convention in the world is about personal ambitions, power and egos but a basic ideological common ground is necessary to help overcome the personal rivalries and the differences. The fact that the only common ground Fatah delegates were able to reach was to blame Israel, whatever the subject is, demonstrates the total disintegration of the Fatah.
The convention was, initially, an American enterprise to boost the legitimacy of Mahmoud Abbas in the Palestinian society, whose legal term as the Palestinian president expired on 01/15/2009. The aim was to post the Fatah as a coherent ideological alternative to the Hamas and to enable a younger genuine leadership from the Palestinian territories to emerge. The convention was facilitated by diplomatic efforts of the European Union, USA and by large extent by Israel. Many bitter enemies of Israel who committed the bloodiest attacks against Israel and its interests in the 60s’, 70s’ and 80s’ and are now over 70 in age, were allowed by Israel to participate in the convention.
The convention was undermined not by the historic enemy – Israel, but by fellow Palestinians. The Hamas in Gaza prevented 400 delegates from participating in the convention, which overshadows the convention and the legitimacy of its decisions when it comes to the issue of electing a new Fatah leadership. Another issue which overshadows the conventions was the blunt accusation made by one of the Fatah founders in Damascus, the PLO Foreign secretary Farouk Kaddoumi, that it was Mahmoud Abbas himself who conspired against Yassar Arafat in order to succeed him. A third issue which split the convention was the $billions of PLO money which mysteriously “vanished” and the refusal of the Fatah financial committee to report or to reveal where has all the money gone.
The additional fourth day of the convention supposed to be designated to elect the new executive committee of 21 members. Despite that the crucial question who will be elected to the executive committee is not yet clear, it is obvious that the old Fatah “outside” leadership will remain in power pushing aside the younger “inside” leadership from within the Palestinian territories.
The Fatah convention is about to end as a fiasco and is about to fail on all its goals. The convention is not able to form a coherent ideological alternative to Hamas. On the contrary – the Fatah was exposed as a corrupted conglomerate of interests without the glue of basic ideology. The legitimacy of Mahmoud Abbas was even more undermined and there is no new young and vigorous authentic leadership.
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