How can Fatah lead when it’s owned by Washington?

Amira Hass wonders in Haaretz about the future role of Fatah, bought and tamed by Israel and the Americans:

The decision by Fatah’s Sixth Congress that the movement is sticking to negotiations as a means of achieving independence, statehood and peace is an admission that the use of arms during the second intifada was disastrous. That is a difficult admission for a movement founded on the sanctification of the armed struggle. And despite being tacit, it is a brave admission for Fatah at a time when most Palestinians are convinced that Israel does not want peace…

Neither the Palestinian Authority, which is an institution concerned with maintaining its existence, nor Fatah, which is concerned with maintaining its huge achievement, have dared to expand the popular protests against the separation fence, of which they boast, into a real popular revolt. The PA is more concerned with recruiting masses of young men into its police forces, whose goal is to suppress “disturbances” (and impose order on Palestinian cities, where the chief disturbers of the peace were Fatah’s own frustrated and quarrelsome armed men). Their foreign trainers are not preparing them to confront armed Israeli soldiers with bare chests…

The schizophrenia of being both a government and a liberation movement (as it defines itself) is one of Fatah’s most salient characteristics. Can Fatah, which sees the PA as a huge achievement, manage to pick up the gauntlet of popular resistance that it itself threw down?

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