More of the Same? Fatah’s Seventh General Congress and the Reelection of Abbas

 

Fatah’s Seventh General Congress gave Mahmoud Abbas renewed public legitimacy, following the ongoing erosion in his status among the Palestinian public. A decisive majority of Fatah united behind Abbas, the sole candidate, and his reelection to another five-year term as leader of the movement. Whatever little internal opposition there was found itself neutralized, and it was clear throughout the congress who controls the movement. The reelection of Abbas highlights Fatah’s stagnation and its structural, functional, and ideological weakness, which affects the PA and Palestinian society. Continued rule by Abbas in the coming years is not good news for Israel or the Palestinians. However, familiarity with Abbas and with the trends in the Palestinian, regional, and international arenas enables Israeli leaders to maintain the possibility of reaching a future settlement of two states for two peoples. Israel can, in cooperation with the Palestinians, initiate a considerable number of actions aimed at gradually creating the conditions for progress toward such a reality. Despite his weaknesses and drawbacks, Abbas remains a comfortable partner for this.


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