Fatah’s historic sixth General Assembly, the first to be held on Palestinian soil, adopted late on Saturday night a provision in its policy programme saying “the Palestinians have the right to resist the Israeli occupation by all possible means.”
It is a phrase too far for the Israelis, whose Defence minister Ehud Barak has been critical of several positions expressed during the conference, and particularly critical of this latest one. “The rhetoric that we have heard from the Fatah conference is disturbing and not very promising but there is no other way for the Middle East but to sit down and strike a deal and agree on a peace for the region,” he said. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stressed resistance does not mean terrorism, but the Palestinian’s founding charter remains at odds with the current leadership’s support for the 2003 Oslo accords which recognise Israel’s right to exist. The charter still calls for the destruction of Israel. Today however is all about elections, not policy, and many are hoping some of the old guard will make way for fresh blood with new ideas.