Fatah celebrates 44th anniversary

Small-scale rallies mark the party's first year as political opposition to Hamas.

    Fatah celebrated its 44th anniversiry with a small-scale rally at the gravesite of Yasser Arafat [AFP]

    "Fatah is still a very influential movement; but it doesn't have the power it used to have," she said.
     
    In 2006, Fatah was beaten at the elections by Hamas, a Palestinian organisation formed in 1989 and often portrayed as more "militant" than Fatah.
     
    When Hamas came to power in March last year, Fatah became the political opposition.
     
    Western governments imposed sanctions on Hamas; and Israel, which has refused to negotiate with the party, withheld over $500m in Palestinian tax funds extending economic hardship in Gaza and leaving many Palestinian civil servants without their full salaries since Hamas came to power.
     
    Israel later agreed to release $100m to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president and leader of Fatah, in a move that would allow him to make direct payments to Palestinian civil servants.
     
    On December 16 2006, with tensions and violence rising in Gaza and despite resistance from Hamas, Abbas called for early elections.
     
    Odeh said: "The main challenge within the party is to unite Fatah's message. Mahmoud Abbas has tried to shake them up so that Fatah can enter new elections and win. He is telling them to 'become the leaders that you say you have always been'."
     
    Fatah joined the Palestinian Liberation Organistaion (PLO) in 1969, taking over the organisation's leadership.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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