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Saturday, February 07, 2004

Hundreds resign from FATAH

they want "greater democracy" . . . within Fatah and the Palestinian Authority
Reuters: RAMALLAH, West Bank - More than 300 members of President Yasser Arafat's ruling Fatah movement resigned collectively from the Palestinian group on Saturday in protest against internal strife and a lack of reform, a statement said.

There were no leading figures among those who quit but the unusual step by rank-and-file members signaled an emerging power struggle between a more radical, younger generation and older leaders of the mainstream Palestinian national movement.

Those who resigned want greater democracy within Fatah and the Palestinian Authority and an end to corruption.

Some observers worried that the move could lead to a splintering of a movement that spearheaded the Palestinian cause for decades, which led the way to peacemaking with Israel and an uprising that erupted when peace talks collapsed in 2000.

"We the sons of the Fatah movement place in your hands our collective resignations from Fatah," a statement, signed by 356 Fatah members from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, said.

"Fatah is beginning to disintegrate as a result of internal contradictions, Fatah is not united...Fatah has not asked the Palestinian Authority to punish those who have harmed the Palestinian peoples' interests," it added.

Arafat was expected to discuss the resignations in a leadership meeting he was to chair in his battered headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah later on Saturday, Fatah officials said. The resignations seemed to pose no threat to Arafat, who remains a symbol of Palestinian nationalism, but could weaken his grip on the actions of individual Fatah members.

A weakened Fatah could further strengthen the movement's Islamic rival, Hamas, a group that has vowed to destroy Israel.
Reuters got that last bit right! thanks to HonestReporting.