First Fatah Convention in Two Decades

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Fatah, the dominant Palestinian movement under Yasser Arafat that has gone from debacle to defeat since his death, begins its first leadership convention in 20 years today.

The big question as more than 2,000 delegates gather in Bethlehem is whether the secular group on which the world pins any remaining hopes for a peace deal with Israel can cast off the taint of corruption, regain its legitimacy and put forward new faces who can take back the ground lost to the Islamic fundamentalist Hamas movement...

...The group's downturn began with the death of Mr Arafat in 2004, which set the stage for twin disasters under Mr Abbas: the unprecedented loss of parliamentary elections to Hamas in 2006 and the seizure of the Gaza Strip by Hamas the following year.

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