Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

What no-one knows about Fatah-Hamas unity

YOU ARE IN: Home Page

Following up on Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz’s earlier post which noted that Fatah and Hamas have reportedly abandoned efforts to form a unity government until September, it important to point out that such discord was more or less predicted by most knowledgeable experts. It seemed inevitable given the fundamental antagonism between Fatah and Hamas.

Moreover, as Y. Yehoshua of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) recently pointed out in an important paper on the Fatah-Hamas deal, most of the details of agreement have never been made public, and remain completely unclear. Indeed, he questions whether agreement was actually reached between Hamas and Fatah about all the major points of contention between them - despite the public claim being made about the deal. He writes:

The story of the Palestinian reconciliation agreement is a "Rashomon" of conflicting versions and interpretations. Today, one month after the reconciliation ceremony, the details of the agreement remain uncertain. The only uncontested element is the document of understandings that accompanied the agreement, an initialed copy of which was published in the Arab and Palestinian press. As for the document to which these understandings relate – namely the agreement itself – its precise content remains unclear, and there seems to be tacit agreement to refrain from officially releasing it.

This is only the beginning of a long and detailed paper by Yehoshua detailing the many contradictory claims about the agreement in Palestinian sources in Arabic.It's highly recommended for anyone with the time to pursue the issue in a bit more depth and is available here.

A shorter report on Fatah-Hamas disagreements was published by Reuters earlier in the week.

Finally, a new and detailed analysis of the background, history and strategic implications of the whole issue of the unity agreement and the Palestinian statehood gambit has just been published by American Middle East analyst Dr. Jonathan Schanzer, from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. It is also highly recommended.