Hamas and Fatah kiss and make up?

http://www.newsweek.com/what-does-hamas-want-islamist-olive-branch-could-be-thorn-side-mahmoud-abbas-666560

Ever since it seized the Gaza Strip from rivals Fatah in 2007, Palestinian militant group Hamas has been anything but predictable.

In April 2014, it had looked as if Hamas was finally ready to come in from the cold in a short-lived unity deal with Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah. But only a few weeks later Hamas picked a fight with Israel that descended into a third bloody conflict with the Israelis since 2008, leaving 2,100 Palestinians and 73 Israelis dead—and effectively torpedoing any deal with Fatah.

Then in May 2017, Hamas again surprised with a pledge to alter its charter and accept in principle a deal with Israel based on 1967 borders, effectively abandoning its commitment to Israel’s destruction and paving the way for peace talks. But less than a month later, it appointed Yahya Sinwar as its new leader—an individual so extreme that he had opposed his own release from Israeli jail in a prisoner swap.

On Sunday, Hamas threw another curveball, announcing that it was dissolving its administration in Gaza and would agree to a general election that would end its decade-long feud with Abbas and Fatah. Fatah officials have cautiously welcomed the announcement, coming as it does just two days before Abbas is due to head to New York for what could well be the 82-year-old president’s final United Nations visit.

Whether Abbas takes the bait—and the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) re-enters the strip from which it has been absent since 2007—remains to be seen. Abbas is 13 years into what was supposed to be a four-year term, and last time he called parliamentary elections in the Palestinian Territories (in 2006), Hamas not only took Gaza but won significant majorities in Nablus, Hebron and even Ramallah, a Fatah stronghold.

The reason for that defeat was not only Hamas’s popularity (although that was a significant factor). Fatah botched the election campaign, managing to anger its base to the extent that many of its members ran as independents, splitting the vote and handing an easy majority to Hamas. Abbas, who had won presidential elections a year earlier, initially tried to work with a Hamas-dominated parliament, but within a year Fatah had been violently ousted from the strip and Hamas all but banned in the West Bank.

Since then, Gaza has been sealed on three sides by Israel and on its southern border by Egypt. Hamas has had various suitors—including Egypt under Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar—but three wars and an ongoing blockade has made life all but impossible. Since early 2017, the P.A. has refused to pay Gaza’s electricity bills, making life even more difficult for 1.4 million Palestinians in the strip.

Meanwhile, Hamas has found itself challenged not only by Israel, Egypt and Fatah but by religious fanatics inside the strip inspired by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS). These militants, buoyed by an ISIS-inspired militancy in Sinai, have launched rockets into Israel, for which Hamas is usually blamed.

As life has gotten worse in Gaza, Hamas leader Sinwar has struck a more conciliatory pose with regard to Ramallah. Speaking earlier this year, he described the split between the West Bank and Gaza as “suicide for the Palestinian national liberation project” and signaled that Hamas was ready to disband its executive committee—a promise that Sinwar made good on this Sunday.

The ball is very much in Abbas’s court ahead of next week’s U.N. meeting, but re-engaging in Gaza is by no means simple. If Abbas consents to elections, Fatah could lose, provoking not only a political crisis for his party but for the Palestinian Territories as a whole. Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S., which may slash funding to the P.A. should the Islamists join a Palestinian government.

But there are personal reasons too. Commentators such as Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab, writing in al-Jazeera, pointed out that at the forefront of negotiations in Cairo between Hamas and Egypt that preempted the September 17 statement was Mohammed Dahlan, the former Fatah leader in Gaza and arch nemesis of Abbas since both men vied for influence under the late Yasser Arafat.

Dahlan, 55, is a favorite within the international community as successor to Abbas, particularly with Cairo and with the deep-pocketed United Arab Emirates (UAE). Although Dahlan is very much a persona non grata in Gaza since the 2007 war—when his Fatah militia was renowned for its violence towards Hamas rivals—the Islamists may be willing to overlook his role in a deal that helped boost its coffers with UAE funds.

Whether Abbas—whose hatred for Dahlan is vitriolic even by the standards of Palestinian politics—is willing to forgive and forget remains to be seen.

And then, of course, there is Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Abbas in April 2014 for his efforts towards reconciliation with Hamas, accusing him of preferring peace with a terrorist group over Israel. Indeed, the inclusion of Hamas at any senior level within a Palestinian negotiation team would likely be resisted by Tel Aviv—let alone by the U.S.

Whatever happens, Abbas and Netanyahu—whose performances in recent years at the U.N. have tended to be rather predictable and anti-climatic—have gone from optional viewing to must-sees at next week’s summit in New York.

———-

something is going on..

“Hamas threw another curveball, announcing that it was dissolving its administration in Gaza and would agree to a general election that would end its decade-long feud with Abbas and Fatah. Fatah officials have cautiously welcomed the announcement, coming as it does just two days before Abbas is due to head to New York for what could well be the 82-year-old president’s final United Nations visit.”

thoughts?

“If Abbas consents to elections, Fatah could lose, provoking not only a political crisis for his party but for the Palestinian Territories as a whole. Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S., which may slash funding to the P.A. should the Islamists join a Palestinian government.”

401

Advertisements

~ by seeker401 on September 19, 2017.

2 Responses to “Hamas and Fatah kiss and make up?”

  1. “Ever since it seized the Gaza Strip from rivals Fatah in 2007”

    fucking newsweek. hamas won the fucking election in gaza AND the west bank, and it was fatah that ‘seized’ the west bank.

    “Hamas picked a fight with Israel ”

    uh-huh

    “On Sunday, Hamas threw another curveball, announcing that it was dissolving its administration in Gaza and would agree to a general election”

    when do you call an election? when you know you’re going to win.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: