Hamas will be strengthened by this deal, will have brought about the release of 1,000 prisoners and will be able to use this as leverage in future reconciliation talks with Fatah, as well as in gaining popularity ahead of Palestinian Authority elections, if they are ever held. Israel will need to work to ensure that PA President Mahmoud Abbas does not view this as a blow and will still be willing to renew negotiations with Israel.While I am not overly concerned with reassuring Abbas, the fact remains that Hamas will indeed appear stronger than Fatah--especially to the degree that the Palestinian Authority fails to get UN recognition for a Palestinian state.
Worse, if Hamas really does appear stronger as a result of the deal, will that push the West (which we all know needs very little pushing) the excuse it needs to really get behind Abbas and push the need for Abbas not to end up empty-handed?
Will Obama have the excuse he needs to renege on his promise to veto the recognition of a Palestinian state in the UN Security Council?
We'll have to wait and see.
Technorati Tag: Israel and Gilad Shalit and Hamas.