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Arafat death probe may appease Fatah's divided delegates

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JERUSALEM and BETHLEHEM – Fatah officials holding their first party-wide conference in 20 years on Thursday extended the meeting after disagreements prompted a walk-out on Wednesday. As the Monitor reported earlier this week, the party – long the dominant force in Palestinian politics – is seeking to regain face after being trounced by Hamas in Gaza.

Intra-party tensions have been running high as members sought to agree on a new political platform and to elect new leaders for two councils meant to govern Fatah’s activities: the 21-seat Central Committee and the 120-member Fatah Revolutionary Council. The last-minute addition of about 700 new West Bank delegates to the convention, bring the total to nearly 2,300 participants, has fueled complaints from many about having an equitable party election while as many as 400 are stuck in the Gaza Strip – barred by rival Hamas from traveling.

Investigation into Arafat's death may appease critics

On Thursday party members also adopted a proposal calling for the establishment of a committee to investigate the death of Yasser Arafat, the late Palestinian leader, amid a renewal of charges by Fatah renegades that he was the victim of assassination plots of both Israeli and Palestinian officials. The proposal said that Israel bears responsibility for his death and said that the investigation team would need to enlist international support.


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