Fatah, the Palestinian political movement, represents one of the most important groups in the Arab world, if not the most vital. In light of the critical situation in Palestine and Israel, the organization is in danger of being split up.
The largest and most influential Palestinian group, Fatah is the guarantor of national Palestinian action, in times of peace and in times of war. Weakening the movement through internal divisions will jeopardize both Palestinian stability and the peace process.
Over the coming weeks, Fatah will face its biggest challenge yet, the ballot box. Its leaders must rid themselves of all personal problems and petty quarrels to form a unified front during the elections. In fact, it is crucial the movement enters into a nationwide coalition with all the national and democratic Palestinian groups in order to confront extremists who are trying to destroy the peace process and hinder efforts to ease Palestinian suffering and the establishment of an independent state.
In complicated situations such as in the Palestinian territories today, it is impossible to agree on everything. All sides should seek common grounds. The Palestinians are not working alone as Israel also has its own plans and interests. A new front is being formed in Israel following Ariel Sharon”s departure from the Likud party and the announcement that Shimon Peres will join the Prime Minister’s new party. The polls have confirmed that Sharon is in the lead despite a new moderate discourse after withdrawing from a coalition with Jewish extremists.
The new political coalition in Israel may be a historical opportunity for peace and may offer new developments that will require a dynamic Palestinian readiness to negotiate. First and foremost, this requires a united Palestinian leadership alertness to the interests of its people away from rhetoric which has greatly harmed the Palestinians.
Fatah would be foolish to allow divisions to weaken the movement. Failure in the elections will reflect on Palestinian decision-making, which greatly worries all peace supporters.