The result of the Fatah Assembly that closed today was a clear victory for Palestinian President Abbas, and the moderates within Fatah. Although it seemed, along the way, that Abbas’s plans might be undone, however, the candidates that won the election last night were almost all supported by Abbas. Of the 18 members of the Fatah Central Committee, 14 were replaced. Almost all of those elected to the Central Committee were from the West Bank; most served time in Israeli prisons at one time and almost all speak Hebrew. They are almost all considered pragmatists. During the course of the convention, a number of resolutions were passed that were widely attacked by Israel. While these resolutions were certainly militant, they need to be looked at like the platforms at American political conventions. The platforms at American political conventions, while often contentious are mostly irrelevant; it's the people who are nominated that count. While it's not clear what the long term effect of the Assembly will be, and it is certainly not clear whether this will allow a reinvigorating of Fatah, it is clearly a step in the right direction. If there is a peace deal to be made (read the review of "One State, Two States" and you will not likely think there is), the new Fatah leadership will be better prepared to negotiate it.
Two very interesting articles appeared in the New York Times in the last few days. The first article appeared on Sunday by Thomas Friedman, entitled: "Green Shoots II", about the transformation of the West Bank in the last year. The second piece is a peculiar article called "The Two-State Solution Doesn’t Solve Anything". When I saw the title of the article, and the names of the authors (HUSSEIN AGHA and ROBERT MALLEY) I was sure this was going to be another article suggesting a One State Solution. Instead it was a long essay explaining how the heart of the matter is the fate of the refugees, the 1948 war, and what sort of state Israel needs to be in order to resolve the problem. The authors of this op-ed piece, however, completely ignored the true core of the problem, which is the inability of the Palestinians to ever accept a Jewish State. To that end, read my new review of the book "One State, Two States" by Benny Morris.