(Arabic for "victory" and a reverse acronym for "Harakat al-Tahrir al-Watani al-Filistani" or "Palestinian National Liberation Movement"). The largest Palestinian political party, Fatah currently governs the West Bank and is the dominant faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Yasser Arafat, among other Palestinian leaders, founded Fatah in 1959 as a secular Palestinian national liberation movement. It began paramilitary operations in 1964, and assumed the leadership of the PLO in 1968. During the Oslo Process, it became identified as the chief proponent of a negotiated, two-state solution. In 2006, the rival Hamas party’s victory in the Palestinian legislative elections resulted in the end of Fatah’s political dominance. The events that followed resulted in the Hamas-Fatah conflict, which led to Fatah assuming political leadership of the West Bank and Hamas in control of Gaza Strip. Fatah signed a unity agreement with Hamas (Fatah-Hamas unity agreements) in May 2011, but implementation stalled. A new agreement to establish a unity government was signed in April 2014. See Fatah’s website.
Multiple Fatah-Hamas unity agreements have been attempted to unify the two Palestinian political factions, one of which (Hamas) has been governing the Gaza Strip since 2007, the other of which (Fatah) has been governing the West Bank. The Hamas-Fatah conflict, which led to the political split between the West Bank and Gaza, began when Hamas achieved an unexpected victory in Palestinian legislative elections in January 2006, challenged Fatah’s longtime dominance of the political scene. Fatah was not prepared to cede power or control. In February 2007, after a long political standoff and several violent clashes, Fatah and Hamas accepted the Saudi-brokered Mecca Accords and entered a short-lived unity government. It was dissolved in June 2007 when Hamas foiled an American-backed Fatah coup against it and wrested control of the Gaza Strip. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas dismantled the unity government, calling for a state of emergency in the Fatah-dominated West Bank. For years an emergency Fatah-dominated government remained in control of the West Bank and Hamas ran its own government in the Gaza Strip. Both parties signed a unity agreement in Cairo in April 2011, but implementation stalled. In April 2014, a new reconciliation agreement was reached and an interim technocratic unity government was sworn in in June 2014. As of May 2015, progress on the unity government continues to falter, with each side accusing the other of undermining the unity deal. See "The Gaza Bombshell," David Rose, Vanity Fair, April 2008. See also "Fatah-Hamas agreement gives unity government control over Gaza," Shadi Bushra, Reuters, Sept 25, 2014.
(Arabic for "Those who are ready to sacrifice themselves for a cause.") Refers to several distinct, primarily Arab groups at different times in history, which adopted the idea of armed resistance. In the Palestinian context, used especially to describe those guerilla units operating mainly against Israel and the Israeli occupation.
("Intifada" is Arabic for "shaking off.") The term became the universal name for the Palestinian uprising that began spontaneously on December 9, 1987 in Gaza and quickly spread to the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The first mass popular uprising against Israel’s occupation, the First Intifada quickly developed popular committees operating under the umbrella of a unified, central leadership and involved coordinated strikes, boycotts, demonstrations and other acts of civil disobedience. Women played a central (though under-documented) role in the First Intifada, which was largely an unarmed struggle, particularly during the first eighteen months, with stone-throwing youth becoming the symbol of the resistance. There were, however, some attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians involving weapons and Molotov cocktails. The Israeli military was unable to quell the rebellion, although they implemented a harsh "break their bones" policy under Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, involving widespread arrests, beatings and use of live ammunition against civilians. Intra-Palestinian violence was a grim feature of the intifada, with rivalry growing between the different Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Islamic resistance factions, and many Palestinians were killed as alleged collaborators with Israel. The intifada officially ended when Israel and the PLO formally recognized each other in 1993 and co-launched the Oslo Process. See "A Quiet Revolution: The First Palestinian Intifada and Nonviolent Resistance," Mary Elizabeth King, Nation Books, 2007; and "The Intifada," MERIP, November 12, 2011. See also the 2015 documentary film, directed by Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan and presented by Just Vision, "The Wanted 18."
(1952- ) A Palestinian political figure. Fayyad worked at the World Bank from 1987-1995 and then served as the International Monetary Fund’s representative to Palestine until 2001. As a member of Fatah, he served as Finance Minister for the Palestinian Authority (PA) from 2002-2005. Fayyad resigned from Fatah in 2005 to help found the Third Way party, which won two seats in the January 2006 legislative elections. Appointed Finance Minister in March 2007 as part of the unity government between Fatah and Hamas, he served in that post until the June 2007 Hamas-Fatah conflict. Fayyad was then appointed as Prime Minister of the Fatah-dominated PA, a post he held until April 2013. In the absence of successful political negotiations, Fayyad focused on developing the institutions of a Palestinian state. See "Are Palestinians Building a State?" Nathan Brown, The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, July 1, 2010; and "Palestinian Prime Minister Resigns, Adding Uncertainty to Government," Isabel Kershner and Jodi Rudoren, The New York Times, April 13, 2013.