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Thursday, November 8, 2007

The end of the Fatah?

An astute commentary from asharqalawsat, Fatah and Hamas: The Division Continues…, that indicates the end of the Fatah
Many have told Asharq Al-Awsat that Fatah is without leadership and can no longer be considered an organization today. Fatah loyalist Brigadier Yousef al Sharqawi said, "No one is leading Fatah, it is without a head, a headless body that walks alone."
"Or," he amended, "perhaps it is a body with multiple heads," and as though he just remembered something, he said, "Fatah is gone."
Like others before him, al Sharqawi maintains that Fatah died with Yasser Arafat. Others uphold that although Fatah is the Palestinian Authority, it does not wield any control over it, but that's another story. Some believe that Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayad and the ministers he appointed do not represent Fatah; in fact, observers believe that Fayad is headed towards a confrontation with Fatah, as some among the movement's leadership have been saying. There are those who consider this to be the impending second coup in Ramallah.
According to a Fatah loyalist, "Today, Fayad is a national requirement but he will soon no longer be," indicating that all the important and influential posts are occupied by officials that are not part of Fatah. This fact was pointed out by the Israeli newspaper 'Haaretz', which also added that a dispute was starting to come to light between Abbas and Fayad over the formation of a Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) that is independent from Fatah and "not affiliated to any political party". This is something that many in the Fatah leadership will regard as a blow. And yet, it was Abbas who granted powers to Fayad, something which he has denied Hamas.
Various Palestinian politicians, including businessman Munib al Masri and First Deputy Speaker of PLC, Hassan Khreisheh, are currently discussing the formation of new [political] parties as an alternative to Fatah and Hamas. This move has received the blessing of President Abbas himself. Some cite the Israeli Kadima party as an example, which was able to "seize power from the historic Likud and Labor parties."
Does Israel really have a peace partner? Will Fatah be superseded, or will it be swamped by the Hamas? In Hamas too, there is ferment - mostly movement toward extremism, and disciplining those who hint of negotiations:
The resignation of former cabinet's spokesperson Ghazi Hamd although denied by Hamas was confirmed by reliable sources within the movement who said that he had indeed resigned in protest against the movement's policy.
The controversy has deeply manifested itself with Hamd's evasion of the media and his keeping a low profile and staying at home. Despite the fact that Hamas has dispelled rumors about a rift with Hamd or that he was dismissed by the movement after making statements that Hamas was negotiating with Israel, Fawzi Barhoum, the Hamas spokesman told Asharq Al-Awsat that, "he [Hamd] still has our respect but he is at home now." The movement's official statement pointed towards the fact that it expressed a personal difference, not one that was held by the movement.
Like Hamd, Ahmed Yousef, Haniyeh's advisor has also disappeared from the scene lately. Some sources within the movement had severely criticized Yousef for his declared statements and positions, some going further to describe them as "Fatah-inclined".
Although Hamas has publicly and overtly denied the existence of growing rifts; inevitably, hidden cracks are starting to become apparent. Recently, differences have been surfacing between the Hamas leadership in Gaza and that in the West Bank.
Political science analyst Abdul Sattar Qasim upholds that "Hamas, unlike Fatah, is a hierarchal organization; it adopts an extremist attitude and does not accept or listen to other opinions."
Never many dull moments in the Middle East.
Ami Isseroff

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


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