Fatah opened its assembly today in Bethlehem. It was the first assembly to be held in 20 years. It was Abbas' goal to use the meeting to bring new leadership in to Fatah. For many of the Fatah members it was the first time they had ever been on the West Bank. For most of the older generation, it was clearly the first time they had seen each other in a generation. Fatah members from Gaza were not allowed by Hamas to attend.
What the historic meaning of this assembly will be is not yet clear. It will be a major accomplishment if Abu Mazen can succeed in installing a new leadership to Fatah, one based mostly in the West Bank and that is more pragmatic. Interestingly, one of the Israeli TV correspondents managed to get one of the leaders of the Lebanese Fatah to say when he did not think he was being taped that they would agree to the return to the New Palestinian State and not to Israel. Of course, when he thought he was on camera he demanded the full right of return..
A few other updates: Yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu passed his two key bills in the Knesset: The land reform bill and the bill making it easier for parties to split up. The Ministers from Netanyahu’s coalition all voted in favor, fearing they would be fired.
The women who was at the center of part of the Haredi unrest two weeks ago (who was accused of starving her 3 year old), was charged today with a long list of crimes relating to her actions against her children