Palestinians converging for Fatah congress


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel will allow Palestinians from enemy countries such as Lebanon and Syria to enter the West Bank for the Fatah general congress.

Some 2,000 delegates from around the world are expected to participate Tuesday in the faction’s first meeting in 20 years. Fatah is the party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel prevented several senior Fatah representatives from attending, including two who were involved in the murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, The Associated Press reported.

The draft document of the congress reportedly will refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and to resume peace talks with Israel until all building ceases in Jerusalem and West Bank settlements. It also calls on Fatah to use civil disobedience agains Israel, including attacks on settlements, and decries "the Judaization of Jerusalem."

The draft also calls on the Palestinian Authority to open "a strategic channel to Iran."

The congress also will reportedly endorse the Saudi peace initiative, which calls on all Arab states to establish full relations with Israel in exchange for all land captured in the 1967 war, upon which a Palestinian state will be created. It suggests a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state along the 1967 armistice lines should peace talks fail.

Hamas did not allow delegates from the Gaza Strip to attend the conference because Fatah is holding Hamas members in jail. 

Israel’s Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz on Sunday called the draft document "a declaration of war against Israel."


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