|“||Revolution until victory!||„|
|~ Fatah's official motto.|
Fatah, also the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, is a Palestinian terrorist group and political party founded by Yasser Arafat in 1959, and the largest faction of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, as well as the second largest party in the Palestinian Legislative Council. Mahmoud Abbas, the current President of Palestine, is the leader of Fatah.
Fatah adheres to an ideology of Palestinian nationalism, social democracy and secularism, and supports the Two-State solution to the Palestinian conflict.
Fatah was founded by Yasser Arafat, Salah Khalaf, Khalil al-Wazir and Khaled Yashruti in 1959 in order to help overthrow the State of Israel. Following the Six-Day War, Fatah rose to prominence in Palestinian politics, and was allocated 33 seats on the executive council of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in 1967. Arafat eventually became president of the PLO in 1969, a year in which Fatah conducted 2,432 guerrilla attacks and missile strikes against Israel.
Throughout 1968, Fatah and other Palestinian armed groups were the target of a major Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) operation in the Jordanian village of Karameh, where the Fatah headquarters were located. The Jordanian government, which was highly supportive of the Palestinian cause, warned Arafat of the attack in advance. Despite the retreat of many militant groups located in the area, Fatah stood their ground until the Jordanian army arrived, forcing the IDF to retreat to avoid causing a war between Israel and Jordan.
After their victory over the IDF, Fatah moved their forces into Jordan, and slowly began taking over civilian life, with members setting up road blocks, obstructing Jordanian police officers, levying illegal taxes and sexually abusing women, all of which was condoned by Arafat. In 1970, the Jordanian government had enough, and moved to regain their territory from Fatah. After much violence, Fatah withdrew to Syria, and crossed to join Palestinian forces in Lebanon.
During the fighting in Lebanon, Fatah field commander Abu Ali Iyad was captured and executed, and surviving members of his commando force formed Black September, a proxy group of Fatah, which assassinated the Lebanese Prime Minister in 1971. Fatah provided training to recruits for many other Palestinian militant groups, and carried out many aircraft hijackings and terror attacks in Lebanon and Israel throughout the 1970s.
During the Lebanese Civil War, Fatah aligned itself with the communist and Nasserist Lebanese National Movement to overthrow the Lebanese government. This lead Syrian president Hafez al-Assad, who had initially supported Fatah, to switch sides, fearing loss of influence in Lebanon. The war began for Fatah when al-Assad's Christian militias killed 26 Fatah trainees, and later attacked a Palestinian refugee camp and killed 1,000 civilians. Fatah and its allies retaliated by killing 684 civilians in the Christian militia stronghold of Damour. The Christian militia later took a pivotal position and slaughtered hundreds of Palestinian militants. Afterwards, Fatah carried out the Coastal Road massacre, during which they killed 37 civilians. This prompted the IDF to launch an offensive against Fatah in Lebanon, and took all of their strongholds in South Lebanon. The IDF later besieged Fatah's stronghold in Beirut, eventually forcing them to withdraw from Lebanon.
After Arafat's death in 2004, Farouk Kaddoumi took over as leader, and nominated Mahmoud Abbas in the 2005 Palestinian presidential elections, only for Hamas to win a majority. Hamas then barred many Fatah members from entering the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The two groups later reconciled, and both joined together to form the Palestinian Unity Government, but this alliance later fell apart after both attempted to seize control by replacing the cabinet with their own supporters.
Currently, Fatah is the leading member of the PLO, as their leader Mahmoud Abbas is the PLO chairman.