The Fatah congress will not remove the clause supporting armed struggle from its
platform, and will add a clause declaring that the movement does not,
and will never, recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

The new platform, which will be brought for approval two days from
now during the movement’s congress, will contain one positive change: a
moderation of the clause saying that armed struggle is the only way to
liberate Palestine, with the addition that negotiations must be given an
opportunity to resolve the conflict. “Fatah will reserve the right to
resistance until the goals of the Palestinian people for an independent
state on the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital, have been
achieved,” the platform will read.

The seventeen hundred delegates to the Fatah congress will gather in
Bethlehem in an atmosphere of an internal Palestinian crisis whose focus
is the deepening rift with Hamas and with the Hamas entity in Gaza.
Hamas operatives are making it difficult to hold the congress and are
trying to prevent the arrival of Fatah delegates from the Gaza Strip. It
appears that only 27 of the delegates from the Gaza Strip will
participate in the event.

Israel, on the other hand, is helping Abu Mazen to hold a successful
congress. By Abu Mazen’s personal request of Netanyahu, Mohammed Ghneim,
a Fatah leader who has been marked as Abu Mazen’s successor, has been
allowed to enter the territories. Israel also allowed delegates who live
in Lebanon and in Syria to enter the territories in order to participate
in the conference, and will allow the West Bank delegates easier entry
into Bethlehem on Tuesday. Reports about the draft of the platform say
that Fatah is likely to decide to open a strategic channel with Iran.
“It is obvious that the Iranians will be quick to set Hamas to rule over
the Palestinians and throw Fatah into the dustbin of history,”
high-ranking Israeli political officials said.

Ma’ariv (p. 6) reports: Officials close to Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu said they were surprised by neither the draft platform nor the
Saudi foreign minister’s statements against normalization, both of which
push off the possibility of making progress in the peace process and
impede US President Barack Obama’s efforts to achieve a breakthrough.
Senior Likud officials with close relations to Netanyahu said: “The
ball is back in the White House’s court. Maybe Obama, who gave enormous
credit to the Arabs and applied pressure on Israel, will now understand
who it is that he’s dealing with.”