The charismatic Marwan Barghouti, serving several life sentences in an Israeli jail, was elected to the Central Committee. Barghouti was a leader of the second Palestinian uprising, or the Al-Aqsa Intifadah which began in 2000, and led a number of attacks on Israeli targets.
Many believe that under his leadership a united Fatah could make progress in unity talks with Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip; he is one of the few Fatah members respected by the Gaza-based Islamists.
The election to the Central Committee of former Gaza Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan from the younger guard is divisive for Fatah members.
Dahlan is accused of attempting to instigate a coup – allegedly armed and financed by the CIA and the Israelis – against Hamas in 2007. Hamas pre- empted this with a coup of its own which saw Fatah lose control of Gaza in the 2007 civil war.
Many Fatah members blame Dahlan for this loss.