"The young guard also opposes Fatah policy vis-a-vis Hamas and seeks to
mend the rifts and reunite the PA with the Gaza government," the report,
authored by Dror Bar-Yosef, said. "But at this stage its leaders are unable
to influence Fatah policy."
[On May 4, Fatah and Hamas were scheduled to sign a reconciliation
accord in Cairo, Middle East Newsline reported. The agreement was meant to pave the way for the
establishment of an interim unity government as well as elections within a
The report said Abbas' key rivals were comprised of a group identified
with Fatah Central Committee member Marwan Barghouti. Barghouti has sought
to bring about changes in Fatah's structure that could allow the young guard
to play a prominent role in Palestinian strategy.
"The Palestinian people and the Fatah membership recognize Abbas'
importance and international standing, thanks to which he enjoys support and
accessibility, without which their situation would be infinitely more
difficult," the report said. "Yet many people in the movement and in
Palestinian society do not identify with him as a leader and hence do not
support his leadership."
Fatah has been divided mostly over relations with Hamas and Israel. The
issues included options to establish a Palestinian state, a freeze in Jewish
construction in the West Bank and opposition to any negotiations with
"In the coming months, if an independent state is declared, Abbas will
have to deal with complex internal Palestinian issues," the report said. "If
such a program is not realized, he will face an even harder task making sure
that he retains control in the face of both internal and external
Another key opponent of Abbas has been former PA security chief Mohammed
Dahlan. Dahlan has been exiled from the West Bank amid allegations that he
sought to organize a militia to overthrow the PA leadership.
"Publicity about the ongoing Fatah investigation of Dahlan constitutes
another nail in the political coffin of a man who was once the strongest
Fatah figure in Gaza," the report said. "While Dahlan succeeded in the Fatah
elections at the Congress in Bethlehem and entered the Central Committee,
this episode could be serious enough to threaten his political future."
Dahlan has also been accused of allowing Hamas infiltration of Fatah.
The report said the infiltrators were relaying information on Fatah and
Israel to the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip.
The report envisioned a decline in Abbas' authority. Bar-Yosef, a
researcher on Palestinian affairs, cited the resignation of PA chief
negotiator Saeb Erekat, the defeat of Abbas allies in Fatah Central
Committee elections in 2009 and coordination between the committee and the
Fatah Revolutionary Council, also said to be dominated by the young guard.
"The structural changes currently underway in Fatah are a sign of the
internal crisis within the movement and further evidence of efforts by
prominent members to play a larger role in strategic decisions, rather than
leaving them only to Abbas," the report said. "The success of endeavors by
this group could bring about major changes in Fatah policy, especially
regarding the movement's attitude to the crisis with Hamas and relations