Fatah, led by the Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, has held its first congress for 20 years.

Draw your own conclusion as to why now.

My guess is that things are going very well for Fatah which is in power on the West Bank and nominally in Gaza where it has been chucked out by the nice Hamas people by a series of gunfights, murders, torture, intimidation, throwing people off high buildings etc. you know, the sort of stuff that passes for politics in the Palestinian world.


… things are going well because Israel is under intense attack not just from the usual suspects in the Arab world, the EU, NGO’s and the UN, but also from its closest ally, the United States of America.

This means that Fatah, alias the Palestinian Authority, alias the PLO (yes, I know they are all different but they temd to have the same cast list) believes it can make another small step or two forward in its ultimate goal of destroying Israel.

It doesn’t need to use an Intifada, armed resistance, suicide bombings and other terrorist tactics, it just has to sit back and watch Israel dangle from an ever-tightening noose, partly of its own making but mainly from the pressure from the Obama administration.

It appears the world wants Israel to make concessions: freeze “settlements”, freeze expansion of “settlements”, grant a Right of Return for the great grandchildren of  Palestinians who left, or were driven out in 1947-9, concede East Jerusalem which is supposed to be “Arab” m, and withdraw to the 1967 borders (thereby rendering the Arab attack on Israel in 1967 as of no consequence).

But Fatah have made some surprise moves on the compromise front – the main one being no compromise at all, so:

it will not change its charter which calls for Israel’s destruction whilst retaining the option of armed struggle enshrined within this charter ““until the Zionist entity is wiped out and Palestine is liberated”.

So where is there room for two states if they still want to eradicate Israel? They say they will pursue peace but reserve the right to use arms. But what peace do they intend? A peace where Israel no longer exists. The road to peace from the Fatah perspective is a series of concessions by Israel which will lead to its destruction. That is Fatah’s idea of peace and if they don’t get it, they will take up arms – possibly.

Fatah refused to recognise Israel as a Jewish state. In fact it’s quite derisory about the idea and considers a Jewish state to be a racist concept but not an Islamic state.

The whole tenor of the Fatah congress was refusal to compromise, refusal to recognise Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, refusal to give up the armed struggle, refusal to relinquish any part of its charter where the destruction of Israel is its stated goal.

Of course, recent events in Israel show the current administration to be equally uncompromising: Prime Minister Netanyahu states that the whole of Jerusalem is indivisible; retains the right to expand “settlements” and cares little about how evictions of Palestinians, however legal, play out on the world stage and give fuel to Palestinian rhetoric.

Israel has not ruled out a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza, but the Palestinians’ idea of a two state solution appears to be little more than empty rhetoric aimed at the non-Arab world whilst they tell each other that the liberation of ALL of Palestine is still their goal. So we may have two entrenched positions but what is there to negotiate from an Israeli perspective until their right to exist is fully recognised.