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Palestinian Crime Bosses

6:35 PM, Aug 5, 2009 • By RACHEL ABRAMS
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It could be a meeting of the heads of the Five Families, the Cavalcantes, the Chicago Outfit, the Patriarcas, and the Detroit Partnership. But these murderers are Fatah terrorists, ex-terrorists (some, anyway), and a few who are just so old and infirm they're now terrorists in spirit only. They've gathered in Bethlehem this week from the Levant and Egypt for the sixth Fatah General Convention "to elect new leaders, clean up the party's corrupt image and make it more competitive with Hamas."

Like the crime bosses of old, these murderers have their own politicians and journalists aplenty; unlike the Mafiosi, though, they've got a few Western countries in their pockets, as well. Palestinian Authority "President" Mahmoud Abbas, opening the convocation,

boasted that the PA had succeeded in mobilizing the world to exert pressure on Israel to halt construction in the settlements, accept the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 and fulfill its obligations in accordance with the road map for peace in the Middle East.

He added that the Palestinians had also earned the backing of the international community for their refusal to resume peace talks from where they ended under the previous government of Ehud Olmert.

Like the Bonnanos, Gambinos, Colombos, Genoveses, and Luccheses, the Arafats, Abbases, Barghoutis, etc., have not been averse to the shedding of blood-a great deal of it; unlike those of the New York families, though, who battled one another for primacy, the wars waged by Palestinians have been mostly extra-necine, the blood shed mostly that of Jews.

This is the first such Fatah gathering in 20 years, and it is the first minus the late capo di tutti capi palestini, Yasser Arafat. And it has not been without its moments of amazing-if unwitting-ludicrousness. The New York Times reports:

A stickler for law and order, Mr. Abbas also proudly noted that Palestinians now wear their seat belts, or face being fined.

As his speech rambled into its second hour, the air filled with cigarette smoke; people started dozing off, milling around and leaving the hall.

Mr. Abbas is a pale successor to Yasir Arafat, the deceased Palestinian leader and founder of Fatah. Mr. Arafat, a fiery orator and a revolutionary at heart, would never have spoken of seat belts. His picture peered down at the conference proceedings, and every mention of him was greeted with rapturous applause.

But the Jerusalem Post's Khaled Abu Toameh gives us a more disturbing picture:

Large posters featuring Palestinian children brandishing rifles decorated the conference hall and public squares in Bethlehem. Fatah signs and placards vowing to pursue the armed struggle against Israel were also visible in many parts of the city.

Many Fatah delegates said they would oppose any attempt to drop the armed resistance option from their faction's political program. They warned that such a move would damage Fatah's standing among a majority of Palestinians and play into the hands of Hamas and other radical groups.

So: the name of Yasser Arafat greeted rapturously; children brandishing rifles; Palestinians vowing to continue the "armed struggle"-read terrorism-against Israelis. Is there anything new under the sun? Are you listening, Obami?