Fatah [fə tä′, fät′ə]
Ar, lit., victory, conquest: used as a reverse acronym of ḥarakatahrīr Filasṭīn, Movement for the Liberation of Palestine
a militant nationalist Palestinian political faction opposed to Israel

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inverted acronym of Ḥarakat al-Taḥrīr al-Waṭanī al-Filasṭīnī ("Palestine National Liberation Movement")

Palestinian guerrilla organization and political party, whose name means "conquest" in Arabic.

Founded by Yāsir Arafāt and Khalīl al-Wazīr in the late 1950s, the movement relied on guerrilla warfare and occasional acts of terrorism in an attempt to wrest Palestine from Israeli control. It eventually became the largest faction within the Palestine Liberation Organization and attacked Israeli interests worldwide. Originally based in Damascus, it was forced to relocate several times before a political agreement was reached with Israel in 1993. A number of factions within Fatah were against peace with Israel and split from the main organization. Fatah faced further difficulty in its attempt to transform itself from a liberation movement to a more conventional political organization.

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▪ Palestinian political organization
also spelled  Fatḥ (Arabic: “Conquest” or “Opening”) , inverted acronym of  Ḥarakat al-Taḥrīr al-Waṭanī al-Filasṭīnī (“Palestine National Liberation Movement”) 

      political and military organization of Arab Palestinians, founded in the late 1950s by Yāsir ʿArafāt (Arafāt, Yāsirʿ) and Khalīl al-Wazīr (Wazīr, Khalīl Ibrāhīm al-) (Abū Jihād) with the aim of wresting Palestine from Israeli control by waging low-intensity guerrilla warfare. The organization, which obtained Syrian support, became based in Damascus, but headquarters are now in Gaza City.

      By 1963 Fatah had developed a commando-type organizational structure. In December 1964 it carried out its first military operation when it blew up an Israeli water-pump installation. By 1968 it had emerged as a major Palestinian force and in March of that year was the primary target of an Israeli attack on the Jordanian village of Karameh in which 150 guerrillas and 29 Israelis were killed. The strong showing of Fatah at Karameh—especially after the Arab humiliation in the Six-Day War of 1967—boosted Fatah politically and psychologically. By the end of the 1960s it was the largest and best-funded of all the Palestinian organizations and had taken over effective control of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

      Following the civil war in Jordan (September 1970), the Jordanian army forced the PLO and Fatah fighters out of Jordan and into Lebanon, and in July 1971 Jordanian authorities killed a respected Fatah leader, Abū ʿAlī ʿIyād. An extremist militant corps of Fatah called Black September (Aylūl Aswad) subsequently emerged, first proclaimed in November 1971. It drew its first international notoriety in September 1972 when some of its members murdered 11 Israeli athletes at the Summer Olympic Games in Munich, West Germany. Black September was thereafter involved in a number of acts of terrorism, primarily against Israel.

      In 1982 Israel's invasion of southern Lebanon, where Fatah had been headquartered, presented a further crisis. The Israeli army ousted the PLO and Fatah from those areas of Lebanon not controlled by Syria, in an operation specifically intended to quiet Palestinian guerrilla activity along the Lebanese-Israeli border. Rival battling factions developed within Fatah during 1983, and a divisive leadership struggle developed. By the 1990s, however, ʿArafāt had reclaimed his leadership of Fatah, which remained the largest constituent member of the PLO.

      In 1993 Israel and the Fatah-led PLO signed a peace agreement (the Oslo Accords) that was opposed by Ḥamās, a rival Islamic group. The following year the Palestinian Authority (PA) was established to govern the emerging Palestinian autonomous regions. Elections were held in PA-administered areas in 1996. ʿArafāt won the presidency, and Fatah captured a majority of seats within the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC); Ḥamās did not participate in the elections. In 2005 Mahmoud Abbas (Abbas, Mahmoud), one of the original members of Fatah, was elected PA president, succeeding ʿArafāt, who had died the previous year. In January 2006, elections were held for the PLC, and Fatah unexpectedly lost to Ḥamās, which won a majority of seats. Although the two groups eventually formed a tenuous coalition government, violence escalated between Ḥamās and Fatah forces in the Gaza Strip, leading Abbas to dissolve the Ḥamās-led government and declare a state of emergency in June 2007.

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Universalium. 2010.

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