Monday, January 1, 2007

Special Report: Inside Fatah - A “Moderate” Entity? (The Center for Near East Policy Research)

Can “strengthening” Mahmoud Abbas and his party improve the situation in the Middle East?

by Arlene Kushner

There is a prevailing notion in Western diplomatic circles today that Hamas – and
only Hamas – is the stumbling block to a successful negotiation of peace between
Israel and the Palestinian Authority. According to this thinking, Fatah – and
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in particular – are essentially
“moderate” in outlook and should be strengthened in the interests of achieving that

The question remains: Can this approach be substantiated? Is the Fatah indeed
“moderate”? Would it sustain a genuine peace with Israel?

Statements offered to a Western world eager to embrace peace are easy to proclaim.
These statements represent a major difference in policy between Fatah and Hamas:

While Hamas is boldly belligerent and declares its intentions outright, Fatah appears
to play the game. But this difference is one of style and not of ultimate intentions.
A review of salient facts dispels the notion that Fatah is “moderate.”
The argument has been made that it was the influence of Arafat that caused Fatah to
lack moderation, and that we are seeing a “new” Fatah since Arafat’s death. There is
scant evidence to support this.

In the battle currently ensuing between Fatah and Hamas, is it reasonable – on the
face of the evidence – to support and bolster Fatah with the expectation that it would genuinely pursue peace? The inescapable conclusion is that this is not a reasonable expectation.

We begin by looking at the Fatah of today, for this is of immediate concern.
We then turn to a broader look at Fatah, and a consideration of the years leading up to the present. No accurate understanding of Fatah would be possible without this
perspective. What we find is that, while style may have changed, the essence of Fatah
goals and policies have not.

See the Full Report: Inside Fatah - A “Moderate” Entity?

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