The events marking Fatah Day - the 51st anniversary of the Fatah movement's establishment in January 1, 1965 - took place this year (2016) under the impact of the violent events that began in early October, 2015. This violence is supported and encouraged by Fatah and Palestinian Authority (PA) officials, who call it a "popular awakening." In his Fatah Day speech in Ramallah, PA President Mahmoud 'Abbas reiterated his support for young Palestinians who set out to commit terrorist attacks, and senior Fatah officials likewise expressed support for the Palestinian people's "awakening" and resistance in all its forms.
In several locations in the West Bank, military parades were held, featuring masked and armed Fatah militants. In Bethlehem, marchers waved rifles and axes, and children wore mock explosive belts and carried dummy RPG launchers.
This report surveys some of this year's Fatah Day events in the West Bank.
'Abbas: Our People Will Not Be Humiliated But Will Reawaken
In his speech in Ramallah, Mahmoud 'Abbas said: "I take this opportunity to reemphasize that the popular awakening is a response to the continued occupation, the settlements, the affront to the honor of the holy places, and the lack of a just solution to the Palestinian problem, a diplomatic horizon, and hope for the future. All these have produced frustration amongst the youth [and no hope for] a new dawn in which they will feel tranquility and security... Despite everything, our people will not bend its knee, will not surrender and will not be humiliated, but will reawaken...
"We demand rights, justice and peace. Peace, security and stability in Palestine, in the region and throughout the world will be attained only if the rights of the Palestinian people are recognized and the Palestinian problem finds a just solution by ending the occupation of Palestinian soil that has been ongoing since 1967, removing the settlers, dismantling the racist separation fence, solving the refugee problem according to [UN Resolution] 194 and releasing all the prisoners in Israeli jails so that a Palestinian state is established with Jerusalem as its capital...
"We say to the people in Israel: Your government is deluding you. It does not want peace for you and for us, but is working in every way to perpetuate the occupation and the settlements on our soil. It wants land, security and peace for itself alone. We cannot agree to this... Remove your hands from the places holy to Islam and Christianity."
Fatah Statement: The Palestinian People Has The Right To Resist Occupation
A statement issued by Fatah on the occasion of Fatah Day said similarly: "The Palestinian people has the right to resist occupation using all forms of legitimate resistance. The movement reiterates its sworn commitment to a popular awakening whose compass is Jerusalem - Palestine's eternal capital - and sacrifice for the sake of the places sacred to Islam and Christianity."
The Fatah's statement (image: Fateh.org, December 31, 2016)
Fatah Day poster (image: Twitter.com/mazen2984gmail1)
Masked Men Wielding Axes, Children Wearing Mock Suicide Belts Participate In Fatah Day Parade In Bethlehem
Fatah's branch in Bethlehem marked Fatah Day on January 7, 2016 with a parade in the Dheisheh refugee camp featuring masked men brandishing firearms and axes, as well as children armed with mock RPG rockets and suicide belts. The event was attended by senior PA and Fatah officials, including Fatah Central Committee member Mahmoud Al-'Aloul, PA General Intelligence chief Majed Faraj, and PA Tourism Minister Rula Ma'ayah.
Fatah Central Committee Member: We Will Continue Resistance Until Occupation Ends
Mahmoud Al-'Aloul said at the ceremony: "51 years of sacrifice and ongoing struggle in the path of revolution, heroism, vigor and victories have passed... Despite the prolonged pressure and siege on the revolutionaries in Beirut [in 1981] and the attempt to uproot them, and despite their expulsion from [the countries] bordering Palestine, they persevered on their path [that led] to the first and second intifadas and reinforced their political presence in the homeland under the leadership of the martyr Abu 'Amar [Yasser 'Arafat], on the road to liberty, independence and the establishment of a state.
"The message of the Fatah movement to the occupier is clear: continued resistance until [the occupation] is removed. Fatah will not allow anyone to burn the ship and disrupt its course. You, the brothers, sons and grandchildren of the martyred leaders who brought glory to the nation, are called upon to preserve and protect it. We will always remain united around [our] national principles. We have paid a steep price in the blood of the martyrs and the torment of the prisoners and the wounded, for the sake of liberty and independence."
The following are photos from the January 7 Fatah Day parade in Deheisheh:
Child wearing a suicide belt carries Fatah flag
Child with mock RPG launcher
Militants wielding guns and axes
Children carrying a mock handgun and Molotov cocktail
Youths with M-16 assault rifles
For a MEMRITV clip of the parade, click below:
Events At Other West Bank Locations
Fatah Day rallies and parades attended by armed and masked men were also held in other parts of the West Bank, such as Qalqilya, Tulkarm and Jericho. At the rally in Tulkarm, reportedly attended by thousands, the district governor, 'Issam Abu Bakr, read out a speech on behalf of Mahmoud 'Abbas. In Jericho a military parade was held, featuring PA police and security forces and attended by local municipality heads.
Fatah Central Committee Member: Full Support For Palestinian People's 'Awakening,' All Forms Of Resistance
At the military parade in Qalqilya, which likewise featured armed and masked men carrying Fatah movement flags, Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Al-Muhsin said that "the movement fully supports the 'awakening' of the Palestinian people and its right to use all forms of resistance until it achieves its aspirations for independence and the establishment of a state."
The Jericho parade (image: Panet.co.il January 8, 2016)
The rally in Tulkarm (image: Twitter.com/fateha1965, December 31, 2015)
Fatah's 51st anniversary (the numeral 1 is shaped like a gun; image: Twitter.com/hlawat1, December 16, 2015)
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6184, Fatah Officials, Palestinian Social Media, Palestinian Authority Dailies Encourage Continued Violence, October 12, 2015; Inquiry & Analysis No. 1193, 'Abbas: We Will Continue The Popular Resistance; Israel Is Plotting To Change Status Quo In Jerusalem; Israel Uses Terror, Executes Children, October 16, 2015; Special Dispatch No. 6249,
PA Commemorates Perpetrators Of Stabbing Attacks, December 30, 2015.
 Al-Ayyam (PA), January 1, 2016.
 Al-Ayyam (PA), January 1, 2016.
 Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), January 8, 2016.
 Al-Ayyam (PA), January 8, 2016.
 Maannews.net, January 7, 2016.
 Salam-tv.ps, December 31, 2015.
 Panet.co.il, January 8, 2016.
 Amad.ps/ar, December 31, 2015.