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EDITOR'S PICKS

On civil disobedience
Neve Gordon, The Palestine Chronicle


Gaza families demand answers
Ma'an News


Goldstone and the 'peace process'
George Giacaman, Bitterlemons.org


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Home > Background Briefings
3.5 - What is Fatah?


A Palestinian man paints portraits of late Fatah leaders on a wall in Gaza City. (Maan Images)

Fatah (sometimes "Fateh") is both a political party and guerilla organization, and, along with Hamas, is a dominant political force in Palestinian politics. It was founded in 1957 by Yasser Arafat and others in Kuwait as the Harakat at-Tahreer Filasteen ("Movement for the Liberation of Palestine"; "fatah" is the acronym in reverse) and launched its first military attack on Israel in 1965.

Fatah is primarily a secular, nationalist movement that focuses on liberating Palestine and establishing a Palestinian state. However, it lacks a coherent vision for post-independence governance and society, instead harboring diverse ideological currents.

Fatah is the most powerful constituent organization within the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and, notwithstanding the January 2006 election of a Hamas majority in the Palestinian Legislative Council, remains a major force in the Palestinian Authority. It holds 45 out of the 132 seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council, and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) continues to serve as President of the Palestinian Authority.


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