Erekat: Fatah conference to define a future program
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Xinhua
by Hua Chunyu, Qi Xianghui - August 7, 2009 - 12:00am

The major task of the on-going Palestinian Fatah party's Six General Conference is to make up the main stream Palestinian faction's future strategy, senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Xinhua. The long-awaited general conference of President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party started Tuesday in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and extended to Friday, due to "stormy" discussions and argument between the members and internal election requirement.

Locals Pessimistic Over Conference
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Media Line
by Rachelle Kliger - August 6, 2009 - 12:00am

Residents of Bethlehem, where a key Fatah conference is taking place, are not optimistic that the outcome of the conference will bring them prosperity and improve their economic situation. Many harbor resentment towards Fatah, accusing the movement of nepotism, corruption, and neglecting their fellow Palestinians. In this West Bank town just south of Jerusalem whose economy relies largely on tourism by Christian pilgrims, locals complain of soaring unemployment and lack of prospects. They are pinning little hope on the Fatah conference.

Fatah extends stormy conference
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
August 6, 2009 - 12:00am

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction's first party congress for 20 years has been extended amid rows between rival camps. The meeting, which was originally scheduled to last three days, will go on for at least an extra day. Participants are divided over the process for voting in new members of its powerful central committee. Younger members want to wrest more control from older leaders seen as corrupt and ineffective. Nabil Amr, a spokesman for the conference, told local media the second day, Wednesday, was "stormy".

Old guard "hijacks" Fatah congress, say reformers
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Reuters
by Mohammed Assadi - August 6, 2009 - 12:00am

The first congress in 20 years of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah has been "hijacked" by an older generation, reformers said, threatening to blunt their efforts to rejuvenate the movement. Younger members, seeking a more transparent Fatah ahead of elections due in early 2010, said on Wednesday that the "old guard" had packed the congress with delegates loyal to them in a bid to maintain the status quo.

'Stormy' start to Fatah's historic summit
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Christian Science Monitor
by Ilene Prusher - August 6, 2009 - 12:00am

The first Fatah conference in two decades was off on Wednesday to what a senior Palestinian official acknowledged was a "stormy" start as some 2,200 party delegates wrangled over a variety of issues and showed reluctance to accept top-down decisions from the party's elite. Foremost among these was a directive to accept the 51-page text of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's speech – which he took two hours to deliver at the opening of the conference on Tuesday – as the report of record explaining Fatah's progress to its Central Committee since they last met in 1989.

Fatah: Israel behind Arafat's death
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Ynetnews
by Ali Waked - August 6, 2009 - 12:00am

The Fatah Congress on Thursday unanimously concluded that Israel was behind the death of former PA President Yasser Arafat. The congress decided to set up a Palestinian inquiry commission to probe the matter. The congress also called for an international commission to investigate the circumstances of Arafat's death. Arafat died in the end of 2004. In October of that year his physical condition dramatically deteriorated, and shortly afterwards – with Israel's authorization – he was transferred to a French military hospital

New guard replaces old in Fateh
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The Jordan Times
by Daoud Kuttab - (Opinion) August 6, 2009 - 12:00am

It has taken 20 years, but the Palestinian Liberation Movement (Fateh) has finally held its sixth general conference allowing for a much-needed influx of new blood into the movement. The conference, which opened in Bethlehem on August 4, registers many historic firsts. It is the first conference of a liberation movement to be held within an area it is hoping to liberate from a foreign occupying force. It is also the first time that Fateh holds a conference on Palestinian territory.

Fatah needs new political options
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from Gulf News
by Francis Matthew - (Opinion) August 5, 2009 - 12:00am

This week's Fatah Congress was based on the hope that the Palestinians can find a successful political way forward, but there is the all-too-real dreadful possibility that the Palestinians will fail and the Israelis will continue their decades of occupation and domination. At the Congress, Fatah did not debate what political and social alternatives there might be for the Palestinians if the two-state solution turns out to be unworkable. And it is all too easy to see Israel refusing to withdraw from its colonies and safe corridors on the West Bank.

Fatah must reinvent itself for Palestine
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from The National
(Editorial) August 5, 2009 - 12:00am

In the 20 years since Fatah last held its general congress, much has changed about the Palestinian question. The 1993 Olso Agreement was an undeniable achievement but it failed to bring either good governance or statehood to the Palestinian people. The Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority has obtained too few concessions from Israel, which perpetuates the violent and oppresive occupation of the Palestinian territories. As a result, it finds itself weakened and embattled in a civil war with its Islamist rival Hamas.

Fatah holds key party congress
ATFP World Press Roundup Article from BBC News
August 4, 2009 - 12:00am

Speaking at the congress, Mr Abbas said Palestinians sought peace with Israel but "resistance" remained an option. Fatah is widely seen as corrupt and ineffective, the BBC's Middle East correspondent Tim Franks says. Our correspondent says there will be close interest in who is elected to the faction's main internal positions of power. Some 2,000 delegates are convening for Fatah's three-day congress in the West Bank town of Bethlehem.

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