Saturday, 1 August 2009

Fatah congress to go ahead despite splits and refusal to release Hamas prisoners

Fatah's sixth congress is going ahead on the 4 August. No mention in this Reuters report of the massive splits within Fatah. Fatah held its last congress in 1989 which speaks volumes about the level of democracy inside the organisation.
By Mohammed Assadi

RAMALLAH, West Bank, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction said on Saturday it would hold a long-awaited congress despite the absence of delegates from the Gaza Strip, who have been confined to the territory by Hamas.

The three-day parley set to begin on Aug. 4 in the West Bank city of Bethlehem is seen as a chance for secular Fatah, which long dominated Palestinian politics but lost a 2006 ballot to Islamist Hamas, to pursue reform. Re-energising the movement is key to Abbas's credibility as he tries to revive peace talks with Israel. The Palestinian president controls a truncated mandate in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, as Hamas seized Gaza in a 2007 civil war.

Hamas has conditioned the departure of some 400 Fatah members from Gaza for the congress on Abbas's forces freeing hundreds of Hamas activists seized in West Bank round-ups.