Fatah recently held a conference under the shadow of a power struggle between Mahmoud Abbas and his main rival Mohammed Dahlan. But a heavy security presence is reported to have prevented any violent confrontations that some thought would mar the conference.
Mahmoud Abbas is said to have achieved his major goals by forcing Dahlan and his supporters out. But, according to unofficial results, the largest number of votes was won by Marwan Barghouti, who is currently in an Israeli prison for terrorist offences. Nevertheless he insisted on running for Fatah’s Central Committee.
Israel’s Prime Minister was extremely critical of this election of a jailed terrorist to a senior role in Fatah. “This is the leader of a terrorist organization who encouraged and led terror attacks that killed and wounded dozens of innocent Israelis,” Netanyahu said.
“As if it weren’t enough that they continue to incite by naming streets, schools and squares after murderers, now they’re in top leadership roles,” he continued.
But Tawfik Tirawi, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, criticized Netanyahu`s remarks and called them a blatant interference in the internal affairs of the Fatah movement. Tirawi said that the Palestinians are proud of Barghouti for being “a leader and a warrior”.
Meanwhile Barghouti himself has called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to review its functions in order to be ‘a bridge for freedom, self-determination, independence and the establishment of a Palestine state.’
He also expressed his happiness at achieving the highest number of votes in the Fatah Central Committee elections, noting this “stresses Fatah’s recognition of its national resistance approach”.