“Winners and Losers in Palestine” by Immanuel Wallerstein 11 July 2007
This analysis is a touch easy on Hamas for my taste, but basically a sage look at pressing matters:
It’s easy to see who are the losers. It’s harder to see if there are any winners. During June, there was a dramatic confrontation between Fatah and Hamas in Gaza. The sequence was as follows. President Abbas dissolved the Hamas-led government (of which Fatah was a part). Prime Minister Ismael Haniya said this was illegal and refused to recognize the dissolution. Each side used force against the other. Hamas won hands down in Gaza. All Fatah leaders left Gaza for the West Bank where Abbas named a new government led by Salaam Fayyad, a government without Hamas members. De facto, Hamas now controls Gaza completely. Fatah controls the West Bank, albeit a little less surely than Hamas in Gaza. In the West Bank, not only does Hamas exist, if somewhat underground for the moment, but the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, nominally affiliated to Fatah, acts autonomously and neither is really under the control of Abbas nor agrees with his current politics. Abbas is in a weak position. He has turned to the outside world – the United States, the European Union (EU), the “moderate” Arab governments (basically Egypt and Jordan), and Israel – for four things: love, money, arms, and substantial progress towards an independent Palestinian state. So far he has gotten lots of love, some but not all of the money Israel owes the Palestinian Authority, no arms (but they may be coming in limited supply), and nothing in terms of the so-called final settlement with Israel.
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