Peace and Good Fellowship
"Instead of moving into peace with Israel, he's moving into peace with Hamas. He has to choose. Does he want peace with Hamas or peace with Israel? You can have one but not the other. I hope he chooses peace, so far he hasn't done so."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
"[If Hamas does join a Palestinian unity government] they would probably allow Abbas to continue talking to Israel while insisting as they have in the past that any agreements require approval from the Palestinian public in a referendum."
Mark Heller, research fellow, Institute for National Security Studies, tel Aviv University
|Photo AP/ Ynet|
"I cannot find any sort of strategic bridge between these two players. The Palestinians will be in a very serious problem, not only with Israel but with the Americans and the Europeans as well."
"The ideological gaps, the political gaps and the cultural gaps [between Hamas and Fatah remained too distantly opposing for reconciliation.]"
Kobi Michael, former head, Palestinian desk, Israel's strategic affairs ministry
Funding that the Palestinian Authority depends upon from the United States could be imperilled by this move; the administration has hinted as much, and it seems logical enough that the PA representing Fatah has earned a clean bill of health with the Americans, but Hamas, whose charter reads the destruction of Israel leading to the restoration of the entire geography to Palestinians is considered a terrorist group.
The European Union, which has declared a fine distinction between the Hamas 'political' wing and the Hamas-Izz al-Din al-Qassem (terrorist wing of Hamas) will find themselves able to accommodate to the situation of a reunified Fatah-Hamas PA co-jointly administering the affairs of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, rather than cut off funding to them.
Of course the larger question is whether the much-ballyhooed reconciliation will actually bond. Since there have been previous such celebrated gestures which never did solidify to actual reality, and the distance between the two Palestinian 'governments' remained an issue of concern. When Hamas undertook the violent initiative to seize Gaza from Fatah in 2007 its actions were not those of a friendly competitor.
Their base ideology differs, although their shared hatred for Israel does not. Their methodology placed them at odds with one another; Hamas openly stating and acting out its viral opposition to the existence of a Jewish state on what it maintains is land dedicated to Islam and the Palestinians. And Fatah presenting to the world at large a partner for peace, willing to accept a two-state solution while instigating behind-the-scenes for Palestinian-ears-only incitements to violence.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas insists both sides are on the cusp of forming an interim government with presidential and parliamentary elections to be held "at the earliest six months after forming the government", for which he has been assured, he can remain president. While Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of the Hamas government of Gaza stated "We agreed on a timetable to end the split", splitting into a wide grin of self-congratulation.
There is the simple fact of economics behind much of these theatrics. Hamas is starved for funding. Its lifeline of financial support through the Islamic Republic of Iran was cut due to disagreements relating to the Syrian regime's attacks on Sunni Syrians. And with the removal of the Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi, Hamas's funding from that source was also struck, combined with its identification in Egypt as a terror group. Qatar's one-time magnanimity has never been repeated.
Hamas's cozying up to Fatah will ensure it can at least share more heavily in the funding the PA receives from all its traditional sources, including the United Nations. That it will not because the funding it withheld will no doubt result in the dissolution of the bonding ceremony. Unless the PA pulls back with the realization that it too will stand to lose some of the funding it relies upon, belying its insistence that it is prepared to present to the world as an independent state, one that is incapable of funding itself.