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Posts tagged ‘Fatah’

Palestinian vote suspended amid deep divisions

Exactly one month before the long-awaited local elections were set to take place across the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian high court in Ramallah suspended the vote – and it is now unclear whether polling will go ahead at all.

The October 8 vote was meant to elect local councils in more than 400 cities and towns across the occupied Palestinian territories. Thursday’s ruling does not definitively cancel the polls, with the court announcing a further hearing for September 21. Read more

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Has Hamas Reached A Dead End?

In Gaza, the movement is strapped for cash, as the territory’s residents continue to suffer under Israel’s illegal blockade.

The unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2016 stood at 41.2 percent, while 80 percent of the population depends on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs.

The Egyptians, meanwhile, are keeping the Rafah crossing almost entirely shut, and have cracked down on the cross-border tunnels that were a major boost to Gaza’s economy. Read more

Palestine: The Road Ahead

On January 25, 2006, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip cast their votes for a new Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). Hamas, which had not contested the previous PLC elections a decade earlier, was strongly tipped to do well.

The U.S. had spent $2 million to try and thwart a Hamas victory, a sum dwarfing the campaign coffers of other parties. The money funded “dozens of quick projects…to bolster the governing Fatah faction’s image with voters,” and focused on “constituencies where Hamas was doing well.”

It was money spent in vain. Hamas won 74 of 132 seats in the PLC, while Fatah, the long-dominant faction within the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian National Authority (PA), secured just 45. The new parliament was inaugurated on February 18, 2006. Read more

Doubts over Abbas’ future highlight wider malaise

Mahmoud Abbas last received the approval of Palestinian voters in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip more than a decade ago. He is now 80 years old, with no vice president, no publicly anointed successor, and no prospect of new elections any time soon.

Last summer was all about Gaza, as Israel unleashed unprecedented violence on the fenced-in enclave. In the West Bank, meanwhile, Israeli forces conducted a clampdown the likes of which had not been seen since the Second Intifada.

This summer, however, with the peace process showing no signs of emerging from its coma, and the occupation’s violence at a relatively low ebb, the focus has been on the intensifying internal political machinations in Ramallah, and in particular, the question mark over Abu Mazen’s presidency. Read more

On Palestine, BDS and solidarity in a time of political crisis

At a recent conference on Palestine in Doha, organised by Azmi Bishara’s Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies, there was one thing that everyone agreed on: the Palestinian national movement is in a state of crisis with regards to leadership, representation and strategies. How this predicament came about, and what needs to happen to improve this state of affairs, was a topic of debate and divergent views; the basic fact of, as Dr. Bishara put it, the need for a “reformulation of the Palestinian national project” enjoyed a gloomy consensus, however. Read more

The problem with Palestinian political leadership

For a few months now, discussion of Palestine/Israel has focused on the looming UN vote on Palestinian statehood, but this is obscuring more fundamental problems in the Palestinian political arena – of which the forthcoming UN vote is a symptom.

In three critical areas, there are significant flaws hampering Palestinian political leadership.

The first is a legitimacy deficit. Both the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority and Hamas have, with the most generous interpretation, a minority mandate from the Palestinian people. The last elections of any sort took place in 2005-2006, and overdue local elections have been indefinitely postponed. And even if presidential or parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza were to take place tomorrow, they would still exclude Palestinian refugees. The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) remains a potential vehicle for democratic decision-making, but serious reform is still not on the horizon. Read more

Will Fatah – as much as Israel – be the target of the next intifada?

For the best part of half a century, Fatah dominated Palestinian politics. Israeli attempts to extinguish the movement failed; rivals were co-opted or sidelined. But gradually, as the Oslo years gave way to the Second Intifada, the peace process went up in smoke and Hamas emerged as a genuine contender for Palestinian political loyalties, serious and critical divisions within the movement have come to the surface. This piece examines the current crisis facing the Fatah movement, and possibilities for the future: critical issues facing the movement — internal divisions, differences over strategy often sharply focused on the question of resistance and/or negotiations, the relationship with Hamas, as well as some of the different options facing Fatah in terms of a way out of the crisis, and approaches being suggested as solutions to the crisis. Read more

Fatah and Hamas set for surface unity

After half a dozen unsuccessful attempts, there is now a strong sense that Egypt has managed to negotiate a national unity deal between Hamas and Fatah. Reports indicate that at the end of October, Palestinian factions will gather in Cairo to finalise an agreement, the result of a breakthrough in recent weeks. Next week, Mahmoud Abbas is expected to support the plan after meeting with senior Egyptian officials. Read more

The making of Salam Fayyad

Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad is the man of the moment, according to a lot of recent Middle East coverage in the western media. From The Economist and the LA Times, to The Huffington Post and Harper’s, the man reportedly referred to by Shimon Peres as a “Palestinian Ben-Gurion” is certainly getting a lot of column inches. Thomas Friedman has lauded what he calls “Fayyadism”, while Newsweek published an extensive report on the PM’s performance described by Tony Blair as “absolutely first class”. Read more

Fatah strangled at rebirth

Last week, Fatah finished up its general conference in Bethlehem, the first time the movement had held such a gathering for 20 years. The conference, which began on 3 August and ran for several more days than scheduled, was billed as the opportunity for Fatah to breathe some life into an ossified leadership structure and kickstart a political comeback.

As the gathering drew to a close, with Abbas re-elected as party leader, new central committee members announced and votes being counted for the revolutionary council, western media headlines gave the impression that it had largely been a success, like the New York Times’s report: Fatah party election brings in a new generation. Read more