Palestinian resistence movement Fatah celebrated its 57th launch day on Thursday, December 30 with a big rally in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. The celebration was held despite the threats issued by the Israeli authorities. While the movement was formed in 1959, it commemorates its first attack against Israeli occupation.
Earlier in the day Fatah members were summoned by the Israeli authorities to warn them against any kind of public celebration, according to reports by Palestinian news agency Wafa.
Defying the Israeli orders, hundreds of members of the Fatah gathered in the center of Ramallah city in the occupied West Bank with yellow flags of the movement along with the Palestinian flags shouting slogans and displaying symbols of resistance including the pictures of martyrs. The participants in the rally also raised slogans in support of jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti demanding his immediate release from Israeli prison.
Barghouti is considered one of the architects of both the first and second intifada or popular uprisings against Israeli occupation in 1980s and early 2000s in the occupied Palestinian territories. He was termed a “terrorist” by the occupation authorities and arrested in 2002. He has been charged with murder and is serving five life sentences.
Fatah was formally founded by the Nakba refugees led by Yasser Arafat and others in 1959 to fight against the Israeli occupation in Palestine. It launched its first armed struggle on January 1, 1965 and established itself as the pioneer armed resistance group since the creation of Israel in 1948. It later became the main constituent of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) which was formed in 1964 and played an important role in the first intifada in 1980s. With the signing of the Oslo peace accords in 1993 the organization abandoned its armed struggle and has largely committed itself to peaceful means of resistance since then.
Fatah has been the leading faction in the Palestinian Authority since its formation in 1994-95. However, it has faced numerous challenges in recent times due to accusations of corruption and authoritarianism against its top leadership. In the last elections held in 2006 it lost its majority and came second to Hamas. Nevertheless, it still retains power as the international community and Israel have refused to recognize Hamas’ victory.