The Swift Demise of Palestinian Unity

YERUSHALAYIM -

It was only months ago that the heads of Hamas from Gaza and their “brothers” from Fatah in the Palestinian Authority arrived in Ramallah to conclude an agreement for a unity government.

That budding unity has already disintegrated, and they are fighting one another once again. Mutual recriminations fill the air. Matters reached a point where Fatah released an official statement this week accusing Hamas of organizing a coup against them.

The deterioration in their partnership did not come all at once. It’s been unraveling for the past several weeks. The crunch came last week when a bunch of thugs from Gaza arrived at the headquarters of senior Fatah member and newly-appointed ruler of the Gaza Strip, Abdullah Abul Semahadna, and told him to pack his things and disappear — fast.

A week before that, 10 bombs were planted outside the houses of senior Fatah members in Gaza. This comes along with the continuing incitement against the Palestinian Authority on the Hamas broadcasting station.

Fatah has retaliated with articles in its newspaper besmirching the good name of Hamas, saying they are not people who can be trusted or relied upon. They accuse Hamas of entering into the unity agreement solely to get the Palestinian Authority to bail them out financially and upgrade their reputation internationally. “All we sought was to share the governance of Gaza. But now it is clear that they are unwilling to give up any power whatsoever.”

The Americans, who pushed for the unity government, refused to listen to the Israelis who tried to explain that there was almost no prospect of a lasting accord. Now, Washington believes it has been deceived by Hamas. As part of the ceasefire at the end of Operation Protective Edge they had secretly committed not to rebuild the tunnels, not to restock their rocket arsenal, all of which they are doing, and openly.

In a secret meeting between Mahmoud Abbas and a senior U.S. official, the former accused Hamas of incitement over Har Habayis in order to undermine Abbas’ position in the region.

Under such circumstances, it is doubtful that those countries which pledged money toward the reconstruction of Gaza will follow through.

Then who will save Hamas from their declining popularity with the Gazans themselves?

Believe it or not, the Israelis!

Soon will begin the promised Israel-Hamas talks in Cairo that are supposed to lead to a permanent ceasefire.

No one should be surprised if, in the indirect talks (actually direct, conducted in adjacent rooms) the Israelis will make a deal with Hamas.

What’s the wisdom in this? No wisdom. But judging from the way the decision-makers in Yerushalayim have been acting, anything is possible.