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Cablegate: Fatah: Alternate Gaza City Internal Elections

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHJMA #0854 1301306
ZNR UUUUU ZZH ZUI RUEWMCE0065 1301301
O 101306Z MAY 07
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC0000
INFO ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC

UNCLAS JERUSALEM 000854

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE, NSC FOR ABRAMS/WATERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KWBG PGOV KPAL IS PREL KDEM
SUBJECT: FATAH: ALTERNATE GAZA CITY INTERNAL ELECTIONS

REF: A) JERUSALEM 806 B) JERUSALEM 821 C) JERUSALEM 836

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. UNDER THE AUSPICES OF FRC MEMBER AHMAD
HILLIS, 320 GAZA FATAH ACTIVISTS HELD AN ELECTIONS CONFERENCE
AND BRANCH ELECTIONS IN TWO GAZA CITY NEIGHBORHOODS ON MAY 8,
ACCORDING TO PARTICIPANTS. THESE ELECTIONS WERE NOT
COORDINATED WITH THE GAZA FIELD COMMITTEE. PARTICIPANTS
ELECTED HILLIS ALLIES TO THE BRANCHES' SEVEN-MEMBER
REPRESENTATIVE COMMITTEES. HILLIS PUBLICLY SAID HIS
SUPPORTERS WILL CONTINUE TO HOLD LEADERSHIP ELECTIONS ACROSS
GAZA, INCLUDING IN AREAS WHERE THE FIELD COMMITTEE HAS
ALREADY CONDUCTED ELECTIONS. THIS EFFORT IS CONSISTENT WITH
HILLIS INTENTION TO REPLACE THE FIELD COMMITTEE WITH ELECTED
MEMBERS, AND IT DOES NOT BODE WELL FOR FATAH COHESION. END
SUMMARY.

ELECTIONS CONFERENCE
--------------------

2. (SBU) 320 GAZA FATAH ACTIVISTS UNDER THE AUSPICES OF FRC
MEMBER AHMAD HILLIS HELD AN ELECTIONS CONFERENCE AND BRANCH
ELECTIONS FOR REPRESENTATIVES IN TWO GAZA CITY NEIGHBORHOODS
ON MAY 8, ACCORDING TO PARTICIPANTS. THE ELECTIONS WERE NOT
COORDINATED WITH THE GAZA FIELD COMMITTEE ELECTIONS BOARD AND
THE FIELD COMMITTEE DID NOT PARTICIPATE. IN ADDITION TO
HILLIS, FATAH CENTRAL COMMITTEE (FCC) MEMBER NABIL SHA'ATH,
FATAH REVOLUTIONARY COUNCIL (FRC) MEMBERS ABU ALI MAS,UD,
SAMIH NASSER, MG (RET) SA'EB AL-AJAZ, AND AHMAD AL-NASSER
OVERSAW THE BRANCH ELECTIONS.

3. (SBU) AT THE START OF THE CONFERENCE HELD PRIOR TO
VOTING, NABIL SHAATH DELIVERED A SPEECH URGING FATAH MEMBERS
TO UPHOLD DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS AND CALLING THEM THE ONLY WAY
TO ENHANCE FATAHS INTERNAL UNITY AND PUBLIC STANDING.
(COMMENT: SHAATH DID NOT EXPLICITLY CRITICIZE THE FIELD
COMMITTEES IN HIS REMARKS, BUT PARTICIPANTS WOULD HAVE BEEN
FAMILIAR WITH HIS PROPOSAL AT THE MAY 3-4 FCC MEETING TO
DISMANTLE THE FIELD COMMITTEES. FATAH MEMBERS WILL LIKELY
INTERPRET HIS REMARKS TO MEAN HE IS SIDING WITH HILLIS AND
AGAINST THE FIELD COMMITTEE. END COMMENT.)

4. (SBU) IN REMARKS TO THE ASSEMBLED CONFERENCE, HILLIS SAID
FATAH WILL CONTINUE TO HOLD ELECTIONS ACROSS GAZA, AND,
IMPLICITLY CRITICIZING THE FIELD COMMITTEES, SAID "ELECTIONS
WILL STILL NEED TO BE HELD IN THREE REGIONS IN THE GAZA
STRIP," (I.E. IN AREAS WHERE THE FIELD COMMITTEE HAS ALREADY
CONDUCTED LEADERSHIP ELECTIONS). HE URGED MEMBERS TO WORK
DILIGENTLY TO ATTRACT SUPPORTERS TO FATAH, EXPAND PUBLIC
OUTREACH AND DEMONSTRATE SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINIANS IN
DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES.

BRANCH ELECTIONS
----------------

5. (SBU) AT THE CONFERENCE'S CONCLUSION, PARTICIPANTS FROM
TWO OF THE FIVE BRANCHES IN THE SHUJAYA NEIGHBORHOOD OF GAZA
CITY COMPLETED BALLOTS, ELECTING A SEVEN-MEMBER COMMITTEE AND
HILLIS, CLOSE ASSOCIATE ANWAR KHALIL AL-IMBAYAD AS ITS
SECRETARY GENERAL. PARTICIPANTS ALSO ELECTED A SEVEN-MEMBER

SIPDIS
COMMITTEE FOR EAST GAZA CITY AND SAMI AL-HILLU (ALSO A CLOSE
HILLIS ASSOCIATE) AS ITS SECRETARY GENERAL.

6. (SBU) HILLIS SAID BRANCH ELECTIONS WILL ALSO BE ORGANIZED
BY THE END OF THIS WEEK IN THREE OF FIVE BRANCHES IN THE
SHUJAYA NEIGHBORHOOD OF GAZA CITY. HE SAID REPRESENTATIVES
FROM THE FIVE BRANCHES THEN WILL CONVENE A CONFERENCE TO
ELECT DISTRICT COMMITTEE REPRESENTATIVES.

COMMENT
-------

7. (SBU) THESE ELECTIONS FOLLOW BRANCH ELECTIONS IN RAMALLAH
THAT WERE ALSO NOT COORDINATED WITH THE FIELD COMMITTEE, AND
THEY POSE A DIRECT CHALLENGE TO THE FIELD COMMITTEES
MANDATE. RIVAL FATAH ELEMENTS ARE COMPETING BY HOLDING
ALTERNATE ELECTIONS RATHER THAN FACING OFF IN HEAD-TO-HEAD
ELECTIONS. NEITHER SIDE HAS TRIED TO STOP THE OTHERS
ELECTIONS FROM PROCEEDING, AND NEITHER IS APPARENTLY CAPABLE
OF BLOCKING RIVAL ELECTIONS. RIVAL GROUPS HAVE NOT YET HELD
PARALLEL ELECTIONS IN THE SAME GAZA NEIGHBORHOODS, BUT HILLIS
IS THREATENING TO DO SO. IF THERE IS NO COMPROMISE, THE
OUTCOME COULD BE TWO RIVAL SETS OF BRANCH AND DISTRICT
REPRESENTATIVES. THESE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS UNDERSCORE THE
SHARP RIVALRY AMONG FATAH LEADERS IN GAZA, WHICH BODES POORLY
FOR INSTILLING THE DISCIPLINE THAT FATAH NEEDS TO WIN GENERAL
ELECTIONS.
WALLES

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