Friday, October 09, 2009

US And Israeli Actions Combine To Prevent Hamas/Fatah Reconciliation

I don't know if any of this was premeditated, but between the 2 of them, Hamas and Fatah appear not to be reconciling any time soon:

Palestinians of the Islamist Hamas faction ruling the Gaza Strip have asked Egypt to postpone a meeting with their rivals of the Western-backed Fatah movement when they were expected to sign a reconciliation pact.

It was supposed to take place in Cairo on October 24-26, with a signing ceremony to cap over a year-long diplomatic slog by Egyptian mediators working to close the split in the Palestinian national movement.

But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the Fatah leader, is under political fire from Palestinians for agreeing last Friday to shelve a United Nations war crimes report by judge Richard Goldstone criticizing Israel's Gaza offensive.

"Hamas told Egypt that the popular shock caused by the Palestinian Authority's delaying of the vote on the Goldstone report was a blow to their efforts and sabotaged the atmosphere for such an event," a Palestinian official close to the talks told Reuters in Gaza.

That would be the US's doing, having pressured Abbas not to press for the discussion of the Goldstone Commission Report by the UN--a plan circumvented in any event by Libya.

And how has Israel contributed?

Fatah is now struggling to correct what aides to Abbas have admitted was a diplomatic mistake. The president has promised to address Palestinians to explain what went wrong and official sources have hinted that heads may roll.

Hamas, by contrast, is enjoying a wave of popularity for securing the release of 20 female prisoners from Israel last week in return for a video showing that the Israeli soldier it has held captive for three years is alive and well.

Could the timing have been any worse for Abbas?

Neither action by the US and Israel actually makes any sense. Obama should have realized the negative pressure Abbas--already known as a weak leader--would receive, only weakening him still further in the eyes of Palestinian Arabs. And surely Netanyahu realized the boost such a deal would give to Hamas--though arguably what Bibi did is more understandable.

All this is not to say that either action was done intentionally with the current result in mind, but even putting aside the undesirability of a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation, strengthening Hamas while weakening Abbas doesn't further the plans of either the US or Israel.

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1 comment:

Dan - Israeli Uncensored News said...

If Hamas were actually reconciling with Fatah, they won't trumpet the Goldstone thing. Rather, Hamas uses Goldstone as a pretext to torpedo the things it wanted to torpedo, anyway