The enemy of my enemy is not my friend. It is entirely possible for two parties to hate each other, but to agree they hate you more. And so it is in this case. Hamas and Fatah are not opposite ends of some mythical Palestinian political spectrum – they are merely different approaches to the same end.
The West has persisted in the fantasy that Fatah and Hamas were opposite forces in the search for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. To sustain such a myth of course requires that one believes that Abbas really is a moderate and that he seriously can be convinced to sit down and negotiate with Israel.
Shoshana Bryen writes that not only is Fatah not the polar opposite of the Hamas terrorists, but instead Fatah is in the process of Converging Toward Hamas:
Hamas is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, rooted in Sunni expansionism but aligned with Iran for purposes of money, training and weapons. This is another instance in which two parties (Sunnis and Shiites) can be at war at one level, but agree to make war together on a third party (Israel). Fatah is open to a (very temporary) political settlement with Israel as long as it brings millions of Arabs into Israel over whom Israel would exercise no functional control.Bryen notes that the failure of the US to understand the internal politics of these 2 "Palestinian" groups flows from the failure to grasp their goals. After all, Obama has claimed:
For both Fatah and Hamas, the bottom line is that the establishment of Israel in 1948, with the blessing of the United Nations, was a mistake by the international community that needs to be corrected.
- "The United States strongly supports the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. That is a goal shared by Palestinians, Israelis, and people of goodwill around the world" Obama, April 6, 2009
- "The road is hard but the destination is clear – a secure, Jewish State of Israel and an independent, prosperous Palestine." Obama, September 25, 2012
Does the US understand the relationship between Fatah and Hamas any better -- that both have been working against Israel, one politically while the other militarily?
But this latest talk of a "unity" government does not mean that Hamas and Fatah will become equal partners.
Far from it.
Abbas and company understand that Hamas may ultimately succeed in taking control of the Palestinian Authority. For example, Hamas rallies were permitted on the West Bank for the first time since the civil war. Abbas is discussing a possible future confederation with Jordan. Fatah has been curtailing security cooperation with the IDF and there are those who believe a third "intifada" has already begun. [Leaving an odd problem for Israel – would the IDF try to save Abbas and his corrupt administration in the face of popular enthusiasm for Hamas?] Even partial success in allowing Hamas to accede to power with minimal internecine killing might allow Fatah officials to escape to a safe haven -- their money having probably already escaped.Read the whole thing.
So now, after years of financial aid, military assistance and political recognition to the Abbas regime, the West has nothing to show for their troubles, relying on the same excuse that the Muslim regimes use to protect themselves from their disillusioned followers.
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