(photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told a meeting of the Fatah leadership in Ramallah on Wednesday that Fatah will hold its seventh General Congress before the end of the year.
The congress will bring together all of the top leadership and cadres to elect a new Fatah Central Committee and Revolutionary Council, the first and second most authoritative decision-making bodies in Fatah, and determine a political strategy.
The Fatah leadership had scheduled to hold the General Congress in the summer of 2014, but postponed it amid the IDF’s Operation Protective Edge against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. In the months following the war, Fatah Revolutionary Council spokesman Fahmi Zaarir announced that the General Congress would take place imminently, but the Fatah leadership ultimately postponed it.
Mufiq Matar, executive director of the Fatah Culture and Media Commissariat, told The Jerusalem Post that he believes the General Congress will convene this time. “Abu Mazen [Abbas] went to the UN and said that 2017 will be the year of ending the occupation, which means that we must prepare ourselves for this transformation that could happen,” Matar said, adding, “The congress will take place as long as no oppressive, external factors prevent it from taking place.”
Matar, who is also a member of the Revolutionary Council, added that Fatah expects to determine a final date for the General Congress by the end of October. “We will complete all the preparations for the congress by October 29, and thereafter the final date will be set.”
The last Fatah General Congress took place in 2009 in Bethlehem, with more than 1,000 Fatah members participating.
The central committee ousted Fatah leader Mahmoud Dahlan and a number of his supporters over the past five years, contributing to a growing schism in the movement.
It is unclear whether or not Dahlan or his followers will be able to participate in the General Congress.