Israeli incursions in the West Bank are the largest since the Second Intifada, while airstrikes over Gaza continue for a fifth consecutive night. "The 'party' tonight is lasting longer than usual," says my friend from Gaza. He recently married, and he and his wife moved to the top floor of an apartment building with panoramic views of Gaza City. For the last five nights, those views have given him a reporter's vantage point on a sustained Israeli bombing campaign - the longest since Operation Pillar of Defense, the nine-day attack on the 25-mile-long strip in November of 2012. At the…Read More... | 32 Comments
The Islamic group has good reason to believe that violence will work for it, and maybe even set the stage for diplomatic engagement with Israel: it has in the past, both for itself and the PLO. It is ironic that Israel rushed to point to the kidnapping of three Israeli teens as the reason it cannot negotiate with a Palestinian leadership affiliated with Hamas. Indeed, in the wake of the kidnapping -- regardless of the outcome -- Israel will very likely use the event as an excuse to stay away from the already comatose peace talks with the Mahmoud Abbas’s…Read More... | 7 Comments
Hamas could be moderated by entering the mainstream, internationally acceptable Palestinian government. Or it could follow the Hezbollah model and slowly reverse Abbas's legacy. The Hamas-Fatah reconciliation is either the end of days, or the dawn over new horizons. The deal is so confusing because it might mean one thing – or else the opposite. Here are some of the polarized possible outcomes: 1. Fatah will become one with terrorists, OR terrorists were just co-opted by a more moderate political leadership. Prime Minister Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Liberman look at this as Hamas spreading its terrorist stain over Palestinian politics.…Read More... | 18 Comments
Swearing in of technocratic government is a first step in ending a seven-year rift between Hamas and Fatah. Israel takes punitive measures against the inclusion of Hamas. A technocratic Palestinian unity government was sworn in on Monday, a first step toward ending a seven-year rift between rival factions Hamas and Fatah in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, respectively. The government is by design temporary until new Palestinian elections can be held and Hamas is included in the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Israel was expected to adopt punitive measures against the Palestinians in response to the inclusion of Hamas, which it…Read More... | 4 Comments
The makeup and formation of a technocratic unity government could be announced within days, or as soon as Egypt's elections are finalized, Palestinian officials tell +972. Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas agreed on the formation of a unity government in accordance with the reconciliation deal reached last month, a number of Palestinian officials told +972 Magazine on Wednesday. An official announcement about the formation of the government is expected in the coming days or as soon as Thursday. The announcement is being delayed until the results of Egypt’s presidential elections are published, along with a few final disagreements about appointments…Read More... | 1 Comment
Time and again, Hamas’ willingness to abide by ceasefires with Israel has been driven by political considerations, mostly vis-a-vis its participation in the Palestinian Authority and PLO. By Moriel Rothman There are few skills more crucial for understanding the Palestinian-Israeli landscape than the ability to differentiate between rhetoric and reality. For example: The Netanyahu government is committed to reaching a peace deal with the Palestinians: rhetoric or reality? Or another example, made increasingly relevant over the last few days with the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation-deal: Hamas is Islamically committed to destroying Israel and thus unable to make political compromise. Rhetoric or reality?…Read More...
He needs the world to win independence for his nation, and in the eyes of the world, Hamas, with whom he just joined forces, is anathema. I’m truly hoping that there’s some deep strategic genius on Mahmoud Abbas’ part that I’m missing here, because I keep turning it around and I can’t escape the impression that he has shot the cause of Palestinian independence in the foot by signing a reconciliation agreement with Hamas. And just when the Palestinians seemed ready to go on the march. The world, including even Washington, blames Israel for the failure of the Kerry peace…Read More... | 86 Comments
Unlike previous efforts, the current Palestinian reconciliation agreement appears to have been cemented from within; and it might just offer a lifeline to Gaza. By Samer Badawi Just as word emerged early Wednesday of an imminent unity accord between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seized upon the news to issue his Palestinian counterpart an ultimatum: Make peace with Hamas, and you can forget about peace with Israel. In lockstep, Netanyahu’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman immediately dubbed any intra-Palestinian reconciliation a veritable “termination of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.” If that was a…Read More... | 25 Comments
It’s hard to think of more divisive activities in Palestinian society today. Regardless of whether one agrees with his actions, it is exceedingly rare to see someone publicly buck the fiercely dominant trends in Palestinian discourse. For nearly 40 years, Mohammed Dajani Daoudi has felt that something was wrong with Palestinian politics. In 1975, while studying at the American University at Beirut (“doing everything except studying”), he was deported to Syria for political activities. Fatah operatives supplied him with a fake passport to get back. But they mistakenly put a Syrian exit stamp into the passport rather than an entry…Read More... | 1 Comment
What does the possibly-revived peace process John Kerry announced on Friday have going for it? - “Diplomatic Tsunami” – a catch-phrase that stands for high-level global isolation of Israel as punishment for its policies is the great fear on everyone’s mind in Israel this week. Israel is smarting from a recent spate of symbolic blows highlighting international opprobrium in new and painful ways: Stephen Hawking refusing to attend the President’s conference, and the new EU guidelines are two very significant examples of very mainstream figures increasingly putting actions behind words Israel has come to ignore. - Palestinian power play. The…Read More... | 11 Comments
An interview with a key Hamas figure in al-Monitor published Friday explores a pragmatic potential and a shift in tactics for the movement. ‘Pragmatic’ is certainly the word interviewer Shlomi Eldar, one of Israel’s top television reporters covering Palestinian affairs, wants readers to remember. His subject is Dr. Ghazi Hamad, currently Deputy Foreign Minister of the Hamas leadership in Gaza, heads the “pragmatic wing” of Hamas and the interview is all about the changes of policy, external relations, and possibly even ideology. Three specific points are worth noting, two internal and one related to Israel: First, in the context of…Read More... | 36 Comments
Hundreds of thousands of supporters of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement turned out for an anniversary rally in the Gaza Strip. It is the first such celebration that Hamas officials in Gaza have allowed since the two factions split nearly six years ago. It was a sea of yellow in the streets of Gaza City, as thousands upon thousands of Palestinian supporters of Fatah came out to mark the organization's 48th anniversary. And, for the first time in more than half a decade, were allowed to display that support publicly. Fatah's yellow flags are a rarity in Gaza nowadays.…Read More... | 4 Comments
In spite of the headlines, the international media attention, and the flow of pictures showing celebrating Palestinians waving flags – the UN resolution sparked little excitement or joy in the streets of Ramallah, which is still surrounded by walls and settlements on all sides. If anything, it was an evening of sadness and despair. Traveling to Ramallah for the late-night public screening of Palestine's UN bid, I was not expecting much. Journalists who spent the day in the West Bank had already reported that very little was going on, that PA sponsored rallies had attracted only few people in the…Read More... | 8 Comments
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Another bloody day of fighting. Wednesday's death toll so far: 103 Palestinians and 3 Israeli soldiers.