A youth waves a Palestinian flag as he climbs a tree during a rally marking the 48th anniversary of the founding of the Fatah movement, in Gaza City, January 2013.
Ahmed Zakot / Reuters

On August 22, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and nine of his colleagues tendered their resignations from the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to force the election of a new executive committee—likely an effort to fill the committee with Abbas supporters. The news shined a spotlight on the PLO, but the real attention should be on Fatah, the dominant faction in the PLO, whose internal politics pose the largest threat to the future of Palestinian politics.

As the Fatah leadership prepares for its annual congress, its internal turmoil has become more pronounced. Younger members, known as the “young guard,” who were raised in the West Bank and Gaza and participated in the first and second intifadas, have aired a number of grievances against the Fatah leadership and the “old guard,” the older members who have spent most of their lives fighting for the Palestinian cause in the diaspora.

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