Skip to main content

Has Fatah put Dahlan secession to rest?

The extent of Arab and international support for Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas was on display at the movement’s seventh congress.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during Fatah congress in the West Bank city of Ramallah November 30, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman - RTSU1Z2

At times, it has seemed as if Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were trying single-handedly to fend off pressure from friend and foe to reinstate the expelled renegade Mohammed Dahlan in Fatah's ranks or continue to postpone the movement's long-anticipated congress. If Abbas felt lonely before the congress, he didn’t feel at all isolated after it convened Nov. 29, also the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Abbas, who was scheduled to give a speech on the opening day, decided midway through the evening to postpone it so the 60 delegates from 28 countries could show the world how much support he and Fatah have.

In a video posted to YouTube by the Fatah Youth Movement on the eve of the congress, Mahmoud Alloul, a Fatah Central Committee member and a movement co-founder, had presented background to Fatah and Abbas' pre-congress troubles and pressures. “We were not [previously] allowed to hold this congress,” he said. “The pressures came from friend and foe.” Alloul then explained that the key issue for Fatah since its establishment in 1960 has been its independence. “We paid a high price over the years for the independence of our decision-making process, but this has safeguarded us as we refuse all attempts to impose ideas on us.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.