On Facebook, reader Flavio Ortigao asked me for my thoughts on the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation. Flavio, here you go:
I think the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal is a sign of the weakness of both Fatah and Hamas. It is a sign of the weakness of the Palestinian leadership. Both Fatah and Hamas felt they needed each other and felt they had to get their act together.
The big thing happening in the Arab world is the Arab awakening and this sense that leadership has to be more accountable. The truth of the matter is that neither the leadership of Fatah or Hamas has been very accountable.
Fatah has never even put itself up for election for fear of losing. In the case of Hamas, they won 40% of the vote in a situation that was unusual. And it seems as though since then they have lost a lot of that support. So both Fatah and Hamas were motivated to do something to show the Palestinian people that they’re trying to get their act together.
Ultimately, I don’t think it matters that much because Hamas will need to forswear its charter and its talk about eliminating Israel for there to be any realistic prospect the Israelis will want to negotiate with them. So as far as I can tell, the reconciliation is a smaller move than meets the eye and ultimately will not have much effect on the Israeli-Palesitinian peace process.
For a long time, I have felt that there was much less prospect of an Israeli-Palestinian peace than people thought. So far for the last 10 years, I’ve been proven right. On the other hand, nobody has ever been proven wrong being pessimistic about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
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