RIYAD, Saudi Arabia - In a letter to the Palestinian Fatah party's sixth General Assembly, Saudi King Abdullah wrote that infighting is more damaging to the cause of a Palestinian state than the Israeli enemy.
"The arrogant and criminal enemy [Israel] was not able, during years of continued aggression, to hurt the Palestinian cause as much as the Palestinians hurt their cause themselves in the past few months," the Saudi monarch wrote.
"I can honestly tell you, brothers, that even if the whole world joins to found an independent Palestinian state and if we have full support for that, this state would not be established as long as the Palestinians are divided," Abdullah stated in his letter.
On Wednesday, fighting among the Fatah attendees escalated to the point that journalists were barred from the meeting.
The main catalyst was the realization that party leaders had no intention of revealing details of the Fatah's financial, political and administrative status, Jerusalem Post Palestinian Affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh reported.
Delegates were also angry that 400 Gaza-based Fatah members barred by Hamas from attending the assembly would not be represented on either the Central Committee or the Revolutionary Council.
Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas was called in to mediate the "stormy" session, which would have "exploded into violence and anarchy," attendees told Toameh.
Abbas said they had not prepared a detailed report because his opening speech provided sufficient information.
"My speech was actually a detailed report about Fatah and the general situation," he said. "This was not my private speech. It was prepared in coordination with dozens of members of the Central Committee and the Revolutionary Council," Abbas said.
Abbas also said Fatah members in Gaza would be able to vote by e-mail or cell phone. He urged participants not to give their enemies reason to rejoice by boycotting the assembly.
Source: The Jerusalem Post