The Palestinian Fatah faction held its first convention in 20 years on Tuesday, hoping to change the perception among Palestinians that it is ossified and corrupt. During the Bethlehem-based meeting, hundreds of Palestinians presented their candidacy to Fatah’s Central Committee.
Chaos erupted when conference delegates learned that Fatah leaders withheld financial reports, and security officers beat delegates who voiced their discontent. Younger activists complained that Fatah’s old guard stacked the convention with supporters in an attempt to manipulate Thursday’s leadership elections.
Overshadowing the Fatah summit is the ongoing Palestinian civil war, pitting Fatah against Hamas. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah stressed the importance of resolving the civil war with a stern warning: “If the whole world… strove to establish an independent Palestinian state but the Palestinian house remained divided, nothing would be achieved.”