Fatah, Hamas Re-Up Alliance
Meanwhile Israel continues to withhold crucial P.A. funds
Reconciliation 2.0 is already off to a better start than Reconciliation 1.0, chiefly because Fatah and Hamas have figured out that the best way to stay united is to make the unification as purely rhetorical as possible. Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (of Fatah) met over the weekend and hashed out the deal: namely, to meet again on Dec. 22, and to hold elections later. Will there be an interim unity government in the meantime? Nope, says Hamas. When will elections be? Abbas says May 4; Hamas has not agreed or suggested its own date. Abbas has also suggested a technocratic unity government, which, of course, contradicts Hamas’ plans. The same problems that doomed Reconciliation 1.0—the fundamental discrepancy between Fatah’s and Hamas’ visions for the future of the Palestinians and how to attain it—will doom Reconciliation 2.0 as well. The idea this time around seems to be to walk the fine line between committing enough to sate a restive, dissatisfied populace but not too much that the whole thing blows up. For Fatah, however, this still means that Israel, the United States, and any other reasonable party can validly accuse it of being in league with terrorists.
To which the only fair rebuttal might be that they have little other choice. Israel’s policies over the past month or two have isolated the P.A. and rewarded Hamas (with the Gilad Shalit deal, for example). Israel is still withholding more than $100 million in P.A. tax revenue as punishment for the organization’s joining of UNESCO. The only wild card here might be Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad: the Steve Jobs-loving, American-trained technocrat warns that he will not be able to pay P.A. salaries this week. Funding the P.A. is good for the moderates and bad for the radicals: It’s pretty much that simple. If you truly oppose the P.A.’s unseemly alliance with Hamas—instead of merely finding it convenient to condemn it—then you should advocate the unfreezing of those funds.
Abbas, Meshaal Meet, Agree to ‘Work as Partners’ [JPost]
Hamas: Palestinians to Skip Interim Government [AP/Vos Iz Neias?]
Israel Halts Payments to Palestinians, Adding to Fiscal Woes [NYT]
Earlier: Congress Cuts P.A. Aid; ‘Political Opportunism’
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.