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Middle east

Fatah elects first Israeli Jew to governing body

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-16

Vote results released on Saturday show that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction elected an Israeli Jew to one of its governing bodies for the first time in its history. Uri Davis (pictured) will serve on the Revolutionary Council.

AFP - The Fatah movement of Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas has elected an Israeli Jew to one of its governing bodies for the first time in the secular nationalist movement's half-century history.
   
Uri Davis, a sociology professor at the Palestinian Al-Quds University on the edge of Arab east Jerusalem, was elected to the movement's Revolutionary Council, official results released after a 10-day-long party congress showed.
   
The academic, now aged 66, has long advocated a secular democratic state in all of historic Palestine, rejecting the Zionist project of a Jewish state in part or all of the Holy Land that has been supported by the vast majority of his fellow citizens.
   
"I hold Israeli and British passports but I consider myself Palestinian above all else," Davis told Fatah delegates at the party's first congress on Palestinian soil and its first since the launch of the Middle East process in 1991.
   
The academic said he wanted to represent within Fatah's 120-member Revolutionary Council the "hundreds of non-Arab sympathisers who have supported the Palestinian cause."

   
"I am very moved by my election which I see not only as a vote of confidence in me but as an expression of support for the line I have taken which is inspired by the struggle led by (former South African president) Nelson Mandela against the apartheid regime in South Africa," he told AFP.
   
Davis, who has written widely on the Middle East conflict, first joined Fatah in 1984, four years before the party led the Palestine Liberation Organisation in accepting a two-state solution.
   
He won renown in the 1960s as a human rights activist campaigning against seizures of Israeli Arab land by the Jewish state and para-state organisations.
   
Davis, who has a Palestinian wife, won 31st place among the 80 elected seats on Fatah's Revolutionary Council.
   
Israel has long had an anti-Zionist community of ultra-Orthodox Jews who are particularly vocal in religious neighbourhoods of Jerusalem but, among secular citizens, opposition to Jewish statehood has generally been confined to a far-left minority.
 

Date created : 2009-08-15

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