- Title: Ramallah is ready for Fatah's 7th congress - officials
- Date: 28th November 2016
- Summary: RAMALLAH, WEST BANK (NOVEMBER 28, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PALESTINIAN SECURITY AT STREET EXTERIOR OF HOTEL WHERE SOME OF DELEGATIONS WHO ARE COMING TO ATTEND FATAH CONGRESS ARE STAYING PALESTINIAN FLAG OUTSIDE HOTEL VARIOUS OF DELEGATIONS WHO ARE COMING TO JOIN FATAH CONGRESS WALKING TO MEETING ROOM VARIOUS OF FATAH CONGRESS DELEGATIONS AT MEETING ROOM PALESTINIAN SECURITY IN CIVIL CLOTHES AT SCENE VARIOUS OF PALESTINIAN SECURITY AT ENTRANCE OF PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY BUILDING CAR ARRIVING, PALESTINIAN SECURITY SPOKESMAN, ADNAN AL-DAMIRI GETTING OUT OF CAR (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PALESTINIAN SECURITY SPOKESMAN, ADNAN AL-DAMIRI, SAYING: "From the start, when the congress was set, the Palestinian security forces, including all the security units, started to work according to a security plan for all of Palestine, and Ramallah specifically, because the congress will be held in Ramallah. There will be International and Arab guests from everywhere at the congress. The plan depends mainly on two things: first, the general (security) system in this country and (secondly) on the intelligence information monitoring any attempt to make the congress fail." MEDIA SPOKESMAN OF FATAH CONGRESS, MAHOUD ABU AL-HIJA, WALKING ON PODIUM PALESTINIAN FLAG (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MEDIA SPOKESMAN OF FATAH CONGRESS, MAHOUD ABU AL-HIJA, SAYING: "The legal number of people has arrived, there are more than 1,200 members (of Fatah) that have arrived in Ramallah." JOURNALIST AT NEWS CONFERENCE LOGO OF CONGRESS PALESTINIAN SECURITY VEHICLE DRIVING BY VARIOUS OF PALESTINIAN SECURITY MEMBERS AT RAMALLAH STREET LOGO OF NATIONAL SECURITY UNIT ON VEHICLE EXTERIOR OF HOTEL (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) FATAH MEMBER FROM GAZA, AMANI RABAH, SAYING: "We are here to participate in Fatah's 7th congress, to be part of the decision makers within Fatah." VARIOUS OF DELEGATIONS WHO ARE COMING TO JOIN FATAH CONGRESS AT HOTEL FATAH MEMBER FROM GAZA, MHANNA HASANEEN, SAYING: "We, as Fatah members, hope that this congress will be a step forward for Fatah and that it will take the Palestinian cause to the first political stories like it used to be before." VARIOUS OF SECURITY AT SCENE
- Embargoed: 13th December 2016 18:08
- Keywords: Palestinian 7th Fatah Congress Ramallah West Bank
- Location: RAMALLAH, WEST BANK
- City: RAMALLAH, WEST BANK
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0015ACXKXZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Palestinians officials said on Monday (November 28) that all the preparations for Fatah's seventh congress are ready.
Fatah, the dominant force in Palestinian politics for half a century, will hold its first party congress in seven years and is expected to shake up its central committee, foreshadowing longer-term political changes.
Palestinian Security Spokesman, Adnan Al-Damiri, said that security forces have secured the West Bank city of Ramallah where the congress will take place.
Palestinian politics hasn't seen much change in the past 10 years -- President Mahmoud Abbas has been in power since 2004 and the last parliamentary elections were a decade ago.
While Abbas, who is 81 and has received medical treatment in recent weeks, will remain in power at the top of Fatah and the umbrella movement, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the congress is likely to lead to the appointment of a clear number two in the party and a potential leader-in-waiting.
It would be one of the biggest developments since the death of Yasser Arafat in 2004, and while the outlook for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is highly uncertain as Donald Trump prepares to take over the U.S. presidency, it could lay the ground for a shift in approach from the Palestinians.
Palestinian officials and Fatah leaders say, the Ramallah gathering, which starts on November 29 and will last for three or four days, will cement Abbas's position at the top while electing around half a dozen new names to the 21-member committee that sets the party's agenda.
The most important decision will come in the days after the congress, when the new central committee meets to elect from among its members a deputy to Abbas in the party.
Palestinian officials repeatedly mention four names as being in the running for that post: Qudwa, Rajoub, Tawfiq Tirawi, a former head of intelligence, and Mahmoud al-Aloul, the former governor of Nablus, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Fatah members who arrived to participate in the congress said that they hope the congress will 'be a step forward.'
There are plans for the PLO's top legislative body, the national council, to meet for the first time in 20 years and potentially elect a new executive committee, which is also headed by Abbas.
If that happens in the coming weeks, Palestinian officials say, Abbas would again be reaffirmed. But critically, his deputy in Fatah may also be named as deputy head of the PLO executive committee, all but enshrining that person as leader-in-waiting.
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