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New Fatah charter omits language on Israel’s demise

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The new Fatah charter maintains a militant tone but emphasizes democratization and omits language in earlier documents that called for Israel’s destruction.

The office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence translated the document that emerged from Fatah’s council in Bethlehem last summer, and Secrecy News, a project of the Federation of American Scientists watchdog group, obtained a copy and published it Wednesday.

U.S. Jewish groups, spurred by the Zionist Organization of America, have long called for Fatah, the party of the more moderate leadership of the Palestinian Authority, to renounce the negationist language of earlier charters. The calls have been repeated in a number of congressional resolutions in recent years.

Such language is absent from the new charter, although it maintains a militant tone in its preamble,which says, "You must know that our enemy is strong and the battle is ferocious and long."

There is no renunciation of the earlier language, and the preamble says the new charter "has been adopted within the framework of adherence to the provisions" of the 1989 charter.

Nonetheless, missing entirely from the charter is the reported language of the 1966 version that called for Israel’s destruction and in the 1989 version that implied Israel’s replacement, albeit through peaceful means.

Otherwise, the bulk of the charter focuses on democratizing the movement, a reflection of last summer’s political struggle between the young guard and the more established leadership. Whereas the Central Committee for years had been an ad hoc collection of acolytes of the leadership, 18 of its 23 members must now be elected by the entire membership.

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