Fataḥ (also known as Fateh) is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its main goal, as stated in Article 12 of the official Fatah constitution, is the “complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.” Fatah had generally a strong involvement in revolutionary struggle in the past and has maintained a number of militant/terrorist groups, though unlike its rival Islamist faction Hamas, Fatah is currently not regarded as a terrorist organization by any government. In January 2006 on parliamentary election, the party lost its majority in the Palestinian parliament to Hamas, and resigned all of the cabinet positions, instead of assuming the role as the main opposition party. Fatah’s strength is estimated at 6,000-8,000 fighters with 45- 300 Politicians.
The full name of the movement is Harakat Al-Taḥrir Al-Waṭani Al-Filasṭini, meaning the “Palestinian National Liberation Movement”. From this was the reverse acronym Fateḥ (or Fatah) crafted, meaning “opening”, “conquering”, or “victory”. The word Fatah is used in religious discourse to signify the Islamic expansion in the first centuries of Islamic history as in Fath al-Sham, the “opening of the Levant” and so has positive connotations for Muslims. The term “Fatah” also has religious significance and it is the name of the 48th sura, or chapter, of the Qu’ran, which is according to major Muslim commentators the details of the story Treaty of Hudaybiyyah. During the peaceful two years after the Hudaybiyyah treaty, many people converted to Islam by reason of increase of the strength of the Muslim side. This treaty by Muhammad was the breaking point and has triggered the conquest of Mecca. This Islamic precedent was cited by Yasser Arafat as justification for his signing the Oslo Accords with Israel. The two most important decision-making bodies are Central Committee of Fatah and the Fatah Revolutionary Council. Central Committee is mainly an executive body, while the Revolutionary Council Fatah’s legislative body is.
Difference between Fatah and Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)
The Palestinian Liberation Movement should not be confused with the Palestine Liberation Organization, or PLO, which was created in 1964 not by Palestinians, by Egypt and the Arab League. The PLO was the umbrella organization below which various Palestinian parties and militant branches were operating. 
Fatah’s earliest military wing, Asifa, or the Storm, was created in 1964. İt launched its first operations against Israel east-Jordan what is today referred as the West Bank (which belonged to Jordan in 1964). In 1969, during the fifth session of the Palestinian National Council–a Palestinian government in exile–Fatah has elected Arafat as the chairman of the executive committee of the PLO and then has given the title of commander in chief. Fatah’s identity is historically been confused with the PLO’s–justly at first, as there were few ideological or personnel differences between the two. But various militant groups within the PLO gradually split off from PLO which was comparison to Fatah too ineffective, too corrupt or too moderate. By the time of the first Intifada, or uprising, in the Occupied Territories in 1988, Fatah’s power had been significantly diluted. The party became the chief proponent of a negotiated solution with Israel, and by 1993 accepted Israel’s right to exist.
Leadership and Structure
President Mahmoud Abbas is the Chairman of the PLO and the head of Fatah. The leading political body within Fatah is the Central Committee, which is elected by the general membership. Fatah’s Revolutionary Council parallels the Central Committee as a decision-making body and includes armed resistance as an option. Additionally, three militia-type organizations have developed from Fatah: the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a designated foreign terrorist organization is emerged during the intifada in September 2000 and takes a violent approach to force Israel to end its occupation; Force 17, a personal security force for PLO leaders which was involved in attacks on Israeli targets in the early 1980s; and the Tanzim (or organization) militia, which was considered to be an armed offshoot of Fatah.
The leaders are often described as follows:
Mahmoud Abbas: Abbas (a.k.a. Abu Mazen) has sworn in as President of the PA on January 15, 2005. Prior to that, Abbas served as Prime Minister in 2003. As a founding member of Fatah, Abbas also took a doctoral degree from the Oriental University in Moscow.
Ahmed Qurei: Qurei joined Fatah in 1968 and headed the PLO’s financial portfolio. He founded the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Construction. He also served as Prime Minister between 2003-2005.
Mohammed Dahlan: Dahlan, a longtime Fatah member and founder of the Fatah Youth Association in 1981, was jailed in Israel due to political activism between 1983-1988. He was participated in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and is considered a major political figure in Gaza. He is the former Minister of the Interior and now heads the Third Way Party.
Nabil Shaath: Shaath, the Palestinian foreign minister, is been a member of the Fatah Central Committee since 1971, and headed the PLO’s first delegation for the United Nations in 1974. He was chief negotiator from 1993 to 1995, and was participated in peace talks conducted at Camp David in 2000 and Taba in 2001.
Marwan Barghouti: Barghouti is a militant political figure currently serving consecutive life sentences in Israel for murder. He is the leader of the Tanzim. Though Barghouti is currently jailed, he won a parliamentary seat in the election, and many see him as an opponent for Israeli-Palestinian peace agreements.
Political Role and Activities
On January 26, 2006, Hamas won a stunning victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections what gave a decisive majority in the legislature. Election officials say, Hamas won 76 of the 132 seats in parliament, while the Fatah party, which had dominated Palestinian politics for decades, secured only 43. Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia and his cabinet have resigned in the wake of the election. 
Charges about the widespread corruption have plagued the Palestinian party of Fatah. Its leaders were been oftentimes accused of siphoning funds from ministry budgets, passing out patronage jobs, accepting favors and gifts from suppliers and contractors, and soliciting bribes. Many analysts also claimed that ongoing power struggles between “old guard” Fatah stalwarts and “young guard” members contributed to political fissures within the party, which has exploited Hamas in the elections. The inability of Fatah leaders to contain these tensions has reportedly increased internal political dysfunction. As a result of poor party discipline, multiple party lists and limited technical preparation for the parliamentary vote, Fatah has gained only 45 parliamentary seats (out of 132). However, Fatah captured 42% of the popular vote. 
On April 7, 2006, the United States and the EU announced that they are halting assistance to the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority (PA) government. The resulting fiscal crisis left the government unable to pay wages regularly and deepened poverty levels in the Palestinian territories. By the end of 2006, tensions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were rising as living conditions were deteriorating and PA employees, including members of the security forces, were unpaid for weeks or months. Armed supporters of Fatah and Hamas clashed repeatedly,they were trading accusations of blame, settling scores, and drifting into lawlessness. More than 100 Palestinians were killed in this violence.
After months of intermittent talks, on February 8, 2007, Fatah and Hamas have signed an agreement to form a national unity government aimed at to end both the spasm of violence and the international aid embargo that followed the formation of the initial Hamas-led government. The accord was signed by PA President and Fatah leader Mahmud Abbas and Hamas political leader Khalid Mish’al in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, after two days of talks under the auspices of Saudi King Abdullah. Under the agreement, Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas remained as prime minister. In the new government, Hamas controled nine ministries and Fatah six, with independents and smaller parties heading the remainder. Among the independents are Finance Minister Salam Fayyad, an internationally respected economist, and Foreign Minister Ziad Abu Amr, a reformer and ally of President Mahmud Abbas.
Demonstrating the differing priorities of Fatah and Hamas, the new government’s platform called for the establishment of a Palestinian state “on all the lands that were occupied in 1967 and Jerusalem as its capital,” and at the same time affirms the Palestinians’ right to “resist in all its forms” and to “defend themselves against any ongoing Israeli aggression.” The new government has committed to “respect” previous agreements signed by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) but has not explicitly renounced violence or recognized Israel. The government platform stated that any reached peace agreement will be submitted for approval to the Palestine National Council (the PLO legislature) or directly to the Palestinian people in a referendum. 
The marriage was short-lived, however, as tensions between the rival Palestinian factions escalated. The new government was still unable to lift the economic embargo and living conditions continued to deteriorate. As each side were jockeying for position during the ensuing power struggle, the fighting finally broke out in May. A series of cease fires could not stem the violence and by June turmoil had gripped the cities. The streets became the scenes of gruesom public executions and local government officials were forced to shut down businesses, schools, and public offices. As the situation was worsening, President Abbas sacked Prime Minister Haniyeh and dissolved the government on June 14, 2007. After he declared a state of emergency Abbas swore in a new cabinet under the leadership of Salam Fayyad on June 17, 2007. Ismail Haniyeh said he planned to ignore the decree issued by Abbas and would continue to operate as if his government were still in place; but the international community threw its support behind Abbas. In addition to receiving the backing of the Arab League and the European Union, both Israel and the United States has announced that they were prepared to lift the financial and economic sanctions against the PA since a new government had been formed bereft of Hamas.
In the 1960s and the 1970s, Fatah offered a training to wide range of European, Middle Eastern, Asian, and African terrorist and insurgent groups. Carried out numerous acts of international terrorism in Western Europe and the Middle East in the early-to-middle 1970s. The organization was recently not engaged in terrorist activity.
(To be continued)
 The Fatah Constitution, http://middleeastfacts.com/middle-east/the-fatah-constitution.php
 Neil C.Livingstone & David Halevy, Inside The PLO, p.60-73
 Jonathan Schanzer, Hamas vs. Fatah, The Struggle for Palestine, p. 13
 Amron Aran, Israel’s Foreign Policy Towards the PLO, p. 87 and http://middleeast.about.com/od/palestinepalestinians/f/me080321.htm
 David Makovsky, Making Peace with PLO, p.32
 CRS Report for Congress, 3 March 2006, (28 December 2010)
 Jonathan Schanzer, Hamas vs. Fatah, The Struggle for Palestine, p. 125
 İbid, p.127
 Jonathan Schanzer, Hamas vs. Fatah, The Struggle for Palestine, p. 110
 John Laffin, The PLO Connections, p.23