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Reconciliation 2.0

The logic behind the new Fatah-Hamas unity

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President Abbas speaks Wednesday on the seventh anniversary of Yasser Arafat’s death.(Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images)

A week ago, the Los Angeles Times noted, “Palestinian leaders lack a clear strategy, yet they are under pressure to keep the momentum going or risk a public backlash.” The UNESCO victory is something of a Pyrrhic one—among other things, the Palestinian Authority risks going bankrupt due to Israel’s continued refusal to hand over tax transfers—and given the lack of popularity for its membership bid among the U.N. Security Council’s new members, who would be likely to deny it a passing majority even without a U.S. veto, Palestinian President Abbas really only had one place to go: back to reconciliation, to Hamas. Which is exactly where he has gone. This isn’t complicated; reports Haaretz’s Avi Issacharoff, “The Fatah-Hamas agreement came to fruition after the committee appointed by the United Nations Security Council to investigate the Palestinians’ membership request said the Palestinian Authority did not fulfill the necessary requirements since it did not control the Gaza Strip.”

Over the weekend, Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshal will likely sign a deal, which was negotiated in secret, that will establish a joint interim government soon and schedule parliamentary and presidential elections for May. As in April, when Reconciliation 1.0 was announced, the devil is in the details. That starts with the status of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who is loved by the West and loathed by Hamas (and not a few other Palestinians; Fayyad isn’t even a member of Abbas’ Fatah party). He is handy to have around when it comes to securing Western aid and U.S. backing, though if the P.A. is allied in a government with Hamas, that quickly becomes a moot point.

Of course, amid the P.A.’s stagnancy, and particularly if reconciliation falls apart (as—let’s face it—it inevitably will), there is the concern that the P.A. could simply disband, leaving a total vacuum that would either be filled by Hamas or, more likely, by Israel stepping in to govern the whole West Bank, pre-Oslo style. No need to panic: This hasn’t happened—yet.

Palestinians Ponder Next Step in Their Statehood Bid [LAT]
Palestinian Reconciliation Remains Uncertain as Fatah, Hamas Agree on Elections [Haaretz]
Fatah: Fayyad Remains Candidate for PM of Palestinian Unity Government [Haaretz]
Experts Warn of P.A. Break-Up [Ynet]
Earlier: On Reconciliation, ‘The Devil Is in the Details’

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I think the last uprising of the Arab Spring will be against Hamas. And I think some Palestinians know that, but fearfully keep silent lest they tarnish the idealised image their cause has acquired among Western naifs. But they are eventually going to pay a price for their complicity in perpetuating Hamas’s continued reign in Gaza. That monster exists, it is antithetical to the twin causes of enlightenment and freedom Palestinian activists purport to uphold, and this kind of detente only benefits it.

Bill Pearlman says:

Its like the SS reconciling with brown shirts.

Well big bully Bill would surely know much about brown attire one can surely and capably believe that.

Dani ben Lev says:

Marc The Brain Tracy does it again. Spot on . And what we see in Palestine we see all ova the Arab world.

Lynne T says:

Khaled Abu Toameh’s perspective on Abbas tossing Fayyed under the bus for a “hudna” with Hamas:

And the Winner is – Hamas!
by Khaled Abu Toameh
November 18, 2011 at 5:00 am


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Reconciliation 2.0

The logic behind the new Fatah-Hamas unity

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