Fatah the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, is a Palestinian nationalist social democratic political party and the largest faction of the confederated multi-party Palestine Liberation Organization and the second-largest party in the Palestinian Legislative Council. The President of the Palestinian Authority is a member of Fatah. Fatah is considered to have had a strong involvement in revolutionary struggle in the past and has maintained a number of militant groups. Fatah had been identified with the leadership of its founder and Chairman Yasser Arafat, until his death in 2004, when Farouk Kaddoumi constitutionally succeeded him to the position of Fatah Chairman, continued in the position until 2009, when Mahmoud Abbas was elected Chairman. Since Arafat's death, factionalism within the ideologically diverse movement has become more apparent. In the 2006 election for the PLC, the party lost its majority in the PLC to Hamas. However, the Hamas legislative victory led to a conflict between Fatah and Hamas, with Fatah retaining control of the Palestinian National Authority in the West Bank through its President.

Fatah is active in the control of Palestinian refugee camps. The full name of the movement is حركة التحرير الوطني الفلسطيني ḥarakat al-taḥrīr al-waṭanī al-Filasṭīnī, meaning the "Palestinian National Liberation Movement". From this was crafted the reverse acronym فتح‎ Fatḥ meaning "opening", "conquering", or "victory"; the word "fatḥ" or "fatah" is used in religious discourse to signify the Islamic expansion in the first centuries of Islamic history –as in Fatḥ al-Sham, the "conquering of the Levant". "Fatah" has religious significance in that it is the name of the 48th sura of the Quran which, according to major Muslim commentators, details the story of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah. During the peaceful two years after the Hudaybiyyah treaty, many converted to Islam, increasing the strength of the Muslim side, it was the breach of this treaty by the Quraysh. This Islamic precedent was cited by Yasser Arafat as justification for his signing the Oslo Accords with Israel; the Fatah movement was founded in 1959 by members of the Palestinian diaspora, principally by professionals working in the Persian Gulf States who had studied in Cairo or Beirut and had been refugees in Gaza.

The founders included Yasser Arafat head of the General Union of Palestinian Students at Cairo University. Fatah espoused a Palestinian nationalist ideology in which Palestinian Arabs would be liberated by their own actions. Fatah became the dominant force in Palestinian politics after the Six-Day War in 1967. Fatah joined the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1967, was allocated 33 of 105 seats in the PLO Executive Committee. Fatah's Yasser Arafat became Chairman of the PLO in 1969, after the position was ceded to him by Yahya Hammuda. According to the BBC, "Mr Arafat took over as chairman of the executive committee of the PLO in 1969, a year that Fatah is recorded to have carried out 2,432 guerrilla attacks on Israel." Throughout 1968, Fatah and other Palestinian armed groups were the target of a major Israeli Defense Forces operation in the Jordanian village of Karameh, where the Fatah headquarters – as well as a mid-sized Palestinian refugee camp – were located. The town's name is the Arabic word for "dignity", which elevated its symbolism to the Arab people after the Arab defeat in 1967.

The operation was in response to attacks against Israel, including rockets strikes from Fatah and other Palestinian militias into the occupied West Bank. Knowledge of the operation was available well ahead of time, the government of Jordan informed Arafat of Israel's large-scale military preparations. Upon hearing the news, many guerrilla groups in the area, including George Habash's newly formed group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Nayef Hawatmeh's breakaway organization the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, withdrew their forces from the town. Fatah leaders were advised by a pro-Fatah Jordanian divisional commander to withdraw their men and headquarters to nearby hills, but on Arafat's orders, Fatah remained, the Jordanian Army agreed to back them if heavy fighting ensued. On the night of 21 March, the IDF attacked Karameh with heavy weaponry, armored vehicles and fighter jets. Fatah held its ground; as Israel's forces intensified their campaign, the Jordanian Army became involved, causing the Israelis to retreat in order to avoid a full-scale war.

By the end of the battle, nearly 150 Fatah militants had been killed, as well as twenty Jordanian soldiers and twenty-eight Israeli soldiers. Despite the higher Arab death toll, Fatah considered themselves victorious because of the Israeli army's rapid withdrawal. In the late 1960s, tensions between Palestinians and the Jordanian government increased greatly. After their victory in the Battle of Karameh and other Palestinian militias began taking control of civil life in Jordan, they set up roadblocks, publicly humiliated Jordanian police forces, molested women and levied illegal taxes – all of which Arafat either condoned or ignored. In 1970, the Jordanian government moved to regain control over its territory, the next day, King Hussein declared martial law. By 25 September, the Jordanian army achieved dominance in the fighting, two days Arafat and Hussein agreed to a series of cease

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