New Fatah ruling body cuts out overseas representation including Gaza

debkafile‘s analysts note that while fervently promoting the “right of return” for the 1948 refugees, the 2,300 delegates to the Fatah conference elected only one overseas member out of the 18 Central Committee seats up for election; Fatah delegates from Jordan, Syria, the Persian Gulf, Yemen, North Africa – and even the Gaza Strip absentees – did not get a look in past the solid phalanx of West Bankers.
A Fatah source in Gaza bemoaned the fact that not a single Central Committee seat was reserved for members whom Hamas barred from attending the convention.
The event has consequently deepened the West Bank-Gaza Strip divide and perpetuated the Fatah-Hamas feud, another major obstacle for President Barack Obama’s Middle East peace program.
As for outside Palestinian communities, the only delegate elected to the ruling body was Sultan Abu al-Einen, Fatah commander in Lebanon. The Palestinians of Jordan, Syria who outnumber the West Bank population are not represented.
Ex-prime minister Ahmed Quraia, who lost his seat, charged the election was heavily rigged – “It was worse than Iran,” he said, supported in this claim by a large number of delegates.
After days of vicious infighting and factional horse trading, the convention confirmed Mahmoud Abbas, 74, as leader and awarded the hardliner Abu Maher Ghneim, 71, his chosen first lieutenant and successor as chairman of the Palestinian Authority, the highest number of votes to the new Central Committee. The transition will take place over a period of time.
The Netanyahu government allowed Abu Ghneim to enter the country from Tunis at Abbas’ urgent request (channeled through Cairo and Washington) and is therefore responsible for an opponent of the Oslo partial peace accords and advocate of armed resistance, who denounces the two-state concept, taking the reins of government in Ramallah.
Once in the saddle, he will present a major obstacle to any peace-making initiatives.
The resident West Bankers filling the other seats include Jibril Rajoub from Hebron, Mohammad Dahlan, strongman of the Gaza Strip during the terrorist uprising order by Yasser Arafat, who is now accused of losing the enclave to Hamas, Hussein al-Sheikh, Marwan Barghouti, who is serving a life sentence in Israel for multiple terrorist attacks, and Tawfiq Tirawi, another engineer of suicide attacks on Israel as a key member of the Arafat regime.
debkafile“s Palestinian sources report that, outside any other considerations, the rise of Dahlan, Hamas’ sworn enemy, puts the lid on any imminent burying of the hatchet between Fatah and Hamas or the reunification of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
None of the new leaders argued in favor of abandoning Fatah’s traditional support for “resistance,” amending its charter which like that of Hamas calls for Israel’s destruction, or relinquishing any part of Jerusalem.
Final results of the Central Committee vote are expected Wednesday and of the 129-seat Revolutionary Council by the end of the week.

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