Cablegate: Barghuthi Letter Urges Wider Representation At

DE RUEHJM #0675/01 1081507
O 171507Z APR 08





E.O. 12958: N/A



1. (U) Summary. Para. 2 contains the text of a letter from
jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghuthi to President Mahmud
Abbas (Abu Mazen) and the Fatah Central Committee (FCC)
regarding the planned Sixth Fatah Congress (discussed
reftels). Associates of Barghuthi released the letter, which
was signed March 17, to Palestinian press, which carried it
April 17. The letter calls for inclusion of a more diverse
array of Fatah members at the Congress (particularly
increasing representation of youth, women and prisoners) and
expansion of the Fatah Central Committee (FCC) and Fatah
Revolutionary Council (FRC). End summary.

2. (U) Begin text.

From my cell, I greet and address all of you male and female
strugglers of Fatah, and the great and steadfast Palestinian
people in the homeland and the Diaspora. I also greet the
martyrs of our people first and foremost, the late leader
President Yasser Arafat, all of the wounded and the
prisoners. I address this brief letter to you hoping that it
will contribute to the success of the Sixth Congress which
has been long overdue for nearly two decades. Those two
decades witnessed many Arab and international developments.
Like the overwhelming majority of Fatah members, I believe
that delaying the Congress was a main reason for the major
setbacks and the chaos that has been prevailing within the
movement. Holding the Congress therefore will be a
significant event in the history of the national liberation
movement. Two years ago the movement faced an unprecedented
challenge, i.e. defeat in the PLC elections, the collapse of
the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip, and the Hamas
takeover. Holding a successful Congress in the current phase
is a sacred Fatah and a patriotic mission that should not be
therefore subject to personal interests or selfish, factional
or tribal calculations. I hereby urge all Fatah members to
exert their utmost efforts and to work diligently to
accomplish this sacred mission to hold the Congress and
ensure that it will succeed.

Mr. President, brothers and sisters,

While being concerned with the interests of the movement and
the success of the intended Congress, I hereby lay out these
recommendations and suggestions hoping that these will be
taken into account when composing and endorsing the mechanism
of determining membership and participation in the Sixth

First I would like to bring to your attention the following

1- Tens of thousands of new members have joined Fatah
since the 5th congress in 1989 and the faction,s students,
social, and cultural memberships have greatly expanded.
Thousands of these new members deserve to be part of the
Sixth Congress since they never had the chance to do so in
the past.

2- Since (1989), four congresses were supposed to have
been held where thousands of members would have participated.
As the 5th congress held in Tunis in 1989 included 1,200
members, the next congress would have included at least 2,000
members. This means the total members participating in the
four congresses would have reached at least 15,000 members
assuming natural, continuous increase in the faction. This
should therefore be taken into consideration in determining
the composition for the forthcoming Congress.

3- If the congresses were held regularly, there would have
been four central committees and revolutionary councils
elected in the past two decades in addition to several
hundreds of participants in the two structures.

4- It should be noted that the Fatah,s cadres inside
Palestine were not able to participate in any congress since
the foundation of the movement in 1965. It would have been
much easier if the congresses had taken place on a regular

5- Since the foundation, the congress never took place in
the homeland; now it is time to hold it in Palestine for
practical and symbolic reasons. It is important to remember
that two PLO National Council sessions were held in Palestine
in 1996 and 1998, in addition to holding two PLC and
Presidential elections.

JERUSALEM 00000675 002 OF 003

6- The Palestinian National Authority was established and
led by Fatah; this has affected the moement's structure.
Many Fatah members left for jbs with the PA. We should note
here that the movment has shouldered responsibilities in new

7- Holding the Congress while applying te old charter of
the movement and ignoring developments of the past two
decades will have tragic consequences. Therefore, it would be
wise to take into account these important developments.

8- We need to look for the best formula that would
guarantee the largest and widest participation for those who
deserve it, no matter the total number of Congress members. I
also urge you to consider holding the Congress in 3 venues
(the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and Diaspora) in order to allow
all cadres who have the right to participate to take part in
this Congress.

9- If the 3 venues suggestion is not deemed a good idea,
or has already been ruled out, it would be very important to
hold the Congress with at least 3,000 participants in order
to meet minimum participation of the cadres. The success of
the Congress would be measured on the level of participation
of the largest segments and sectors of the movement.

10- It is imperative to represent all the regions and
districts through elected committees, and all the members of
the former committees, which led the factional work for years.

11- We should have the widest representation for the youth
sector through the members of Fatah Youth leadership and
cadres throughout the governorates, the homeland leadership,
and the leadership of each governorate in addition to the
youth leadership in the universities and institutions, etc.

12- It is essential to guarantee that Fatah women's
representation in the Congress composes least 20 percent of
the total number. This participation should include different

13- All Fatah former and present PLC members should be
represented at the Congress without exception.

14- We should have all Fatah representatives in the
municipalities and village councils included, especially
those who have popularity and play a role in managing matters
in the local Palestinian society.

15- We should ensure a wide representation of professional
syndicates especially doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc., in
addition to Fatah representatives in the current and former
unions at the national, local, and governorate levels.

16- We should have a wide participation of professors,
teachers, media people, Fatah members in charitable
organizations, NGOs, etc.

17- We should have all freed prisoners who spent more than
10 years in the Israeli jails represented in the Congress and
also have all deportees, especially those of the Nativity
Church, as members in the Congress.

18- We should represent the nearly 6,000 Fatah prisoners in
Israeli jails including 200 old prisoners who have spent more
than ten years inside prison so far. We will communicate in
order to reach a suitable formula for this representation.

19- We should have representatives from the movement's
national assembly for martyrs, sons and the other
institutions which care for martyrs, families.

20- It is very important to have representatives from all
the sectors mentioned above in order to unify the movement.
This will facilitate the process of holding the congress.

To guarantee the widest participation in decisionmaking, it
is essential to study the possibility of expanding the
membership of the Fatah Central Committee (FCC) from 21 up to
31 or at least 27 members. The same would apply to the Fatah
Revolutionary Council (FRC), where a membership of at least
250 should be considered instead of 120 as present. Expanding
the FRC is an important step to follow up and determine Fatah
candidates in municipal and legislative elections and those
who would be ministers in governments, etc. Women should
also be represented in the FCC by no less than 20 percent of
the total membership.

JERUSALEM 00000675 003 OF 003

Lastly, it is crucial for the FCC to hold meetings with the
cadres, representatives from all sectors, and the factional
offices in the districts and in the refugee camps in order to
explain the duties of the preparatory committee and listen to
their remarks. These meetings would also allow a more
extensive and comprehensive internal dialogue.

Leader and Brother Abu Mazen,
Sisters and brother in the FCC;
Sisters and brothers in the Sixth Congress Preparatory

Real and serious preparation is the main condition for the
success of the Congress. The FCC, FRC and the other
structures of the movement ought to work full-time to bring
about a successful outcome for this event. It is also
imperative to engage women, youth, unions and other
structures of the movement in the preparations and soliciting
their opinions while going ahead with preparations. It is
important to have real preparations and go to the Congress
unified, and have women, men, homeland members, and these in
the Diaspora all as partners. This is an historic
responsibility on all of us to bring Fatah in these troubled
times to the safe seashore. Fatah is the hope of our people
in freedom, return, independence, democracy, and justice

Marwan Barghuthi
Hadarim prison

End Text.

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