Fatah congress focuses on split with Hamas

More than 2,000 delegates from all over the Arab world went to Bethlehem in the West Bank this week for the Fatah Party’s first conference in 20 years. The last time Fatah convened a congress was in Tunis in 1989.

Aside from choosing new leaders and adopting a new political platform, the three-day congress, which began Aug. 4, aims to help rebuild the once dominant but now struggling party of Yasser Arafat.

In a two-hour speech at the congress’ opening session, P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas talked about resolving the Hamas-Fatah split and suggested holding new elections.

“We need unity with Hamas,” Abbas said. “We know you are part of Palestine. We are two parts that connect each other and should not divide each other.” — jta