Fatah was once the cornerstone of the Palestinian national cause
Palestinian newspapers were generally upbeat ahead of the opening of the first Fatah movement conference since 1989, although a Hamas-run daily scoffed at the "focus" on Gazan delegates being prevented from attending.
The issue was taken up by the wider Arab press, with one Egyptian daily declaring that the row had ruined the conference before it started.
And a Lebanese commentator accused the delegates of being more interested in Fatah's internal struggles than the Palestinian cause.
At last, Fatah's long-awaited sixth conference will be held after disagreements and divisions... We want Fatah's conference to be successful because its success is the success of the entire homeland, and what happens in it will reflect on the homeland and citizens alike.
UMAR HILMI AL-GHUL in PALESTINIAN AL-HAYAT AL-JADIDAH
Fatah members: the ball is now in your court. You and no-one else can bear responsibility for the rise of Fatah and the national movement as a whole. You are the ones who can restore prestige to your cause and national enterprise, and liberate all the territories occupied in 1967... and you are the ones who can liberate the Gaza Strip from Hamas's putschists. So, will you be up to the responsibility?
MUHANNAD ABD-AL-HAMID in PALESTINIAN AL-AYYAM
[People opposed to the conference] say that it will 'obliterate the resistance' in order to accept the Israeli solution. They also call for isolating and undermining the entire conference, betting that there will be recurrent divisions that will lead to Fatah's disappearance... these people do not know the movement at all.
MUHAMMAD FARIS ABDALLAH in PALESTINIAN FILASTIN
We are starting to feel that the Palestinian people have no priorities or urgent matters other than Fatah's sixth conference... Instead of calling for a stand against the unprecedented Judaisation of Jerusalem, the revered leaders are focusing on the need to allow Fatah's Gaza leaders to leave the Gaza Strip through the Zionist Erez crossing in order to take part in the conference of the 'revolutionists'.
IBRAHIM NAFI'I in EGYPT'S AL-AHRAM
The conference's problem is the attendance of the 400 Fatah members residing in Gaza. Hamas said it would not allow these members... to attend the conference unless the Palestinian National Authority... released Hamas detainees... Hamas did not back off from its position and Fatah did not agree to release Hamas detainees. Thus Fatah and Hamas ruined the sixth general Fatah conference prematurely.
SULTAN AL-HATTAB in JORDAN'S AL-RA'Y
Hamas' position has opened the eyes of Palestinians, Arabs and many international forces to the danger resulting from the absence of Fatah as a national movement. This absence means the defeat of the Palestinian national project and its total loss, as the Palestinian scene will become purely Islamic.
RAKAN AL-MAJALI in JORDAN'S AL-DUSTUR
The occasion certainly revealed the depth of differences between Hamas and Fatah... we can conclude that arresting Hamas members in the West Bank is not a free and individual decision of the Palestinian Authority. There Israel has the actual authority and is the reference for the Palestinian Authority when dealing with Hamas.
AHMAD ZIBAN in QATAR'S AL-RAYAH
The Fatah conference has the historic national responsibility of not allowing the division to deepen... One of the most important challenges of this conference is to push towards reconciliation and the return of national unity, as the Palestinian people faces a dangerous phase that threatens to annihilate the Palestinian cause.
The Jewish status of the Zionist state and the refusal to settle Palestinian refugees in the places where they currently live should be the main issues of the Fatah conference and perhaps all Palestinian factions inside and outside the authority. These issues have to be major subjects at the long-awaited Fatah conference.
NIHAL AL-SHAHHAL in LEBANON'S AL-AKHBAR
Today the Fatah conference will be held... But there will be no evaluation of the past or any recognition of the present or future... The sixth Fatah conference is being held as if there were no fatal crisis facing the Palestinian cause. The most important thing happening is a struggle for membership of the Central Committee and the Revolutionary Council.
AMOS GILBOA in ISRAEL'S MA'ARIV
Hamas is tightening its control of the population in Gaza and is preparing a fanatical young generation of zealots for extremist Islam for the long term... The differentiation between the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria [West Bank] is steadily growing... Therefore, most of the ideas in our political settlement with Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas] - like the the 'road map' and the 'two states' - are in fact becoming detached from reality.
UNNAMED POLITICAL SOURCE on VOICE OF ISRAEL RADIO
This conference constitutes an opportunity for the Palestinians to resume dialogue with Israel, as long as they do not pose any preconditions for this resumption... [although] senior Fatah officials have already posed conditions.
selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.