The gift that Hamas gives

Tony Karon,, February 12:

Fatah leaders see the Israeli election as confirming what they already knew: there’s nothing to be gained by continuing the charade of U.S.-sponsored talks about talks with the Israelis. Palestinians could not get what they needed from Olmert, and they know that his successors will take even more of a hard line. From the Palestinian perspective, the past eight years of waiting for negotiations with Israel have left Abbas empty-handed, while the latest Gaza conflict has put Hamas in a stronger position than ever in the court of Palestinian public opinion. Despite the violence by Hamas gunmen against Fatah activists in Gaza since the Israeli offensive, many in Fatah view their movement’s only hope of re-establishing a leading role in Palestinian politics as being to join a unity government with Hamas — and begin to directly challenge the Israeli occupation in the West Bank. The fact that such a sentiment coincides with Israel’s electing a more hawkish government suggests that the Middle East could be in for a long, hot summer.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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