He left Hamas after Oslo, moved to Ramallah, and joined Abbas' Palestinian Authority. Following the burning of the Dawabsha family and the conflagrations at Al-Aqsa Mosque, Supreme Sharia judge of the Palestinian Authority Dr. Mahmoud al-Habash warns Israel not to test Palestinian patience. On the charred walls of the Dawabsha home in the West Bank village of Duma, the words "revenge" and "long live the Messiah" were spray-painted by the same Jewish terrorists who burned three of the four family members to death. The graffiti troubles me. Regardless of how detestable it is, I can understand the logic of revenge; but I…Read More... | 24 Comments
Irrespective of who wins in Israel's elections, Palestine will have to deal with the marginalization of its quest for statehood. That process must start by reintegrating Gaza into the Palestinian fold. By Salam Fayyad For Palestinians the quest for statehood begins with Gaza. But wait, is there still active regional or international interest in the cause of Palestinian statehood? I submit that whatever residual interest remains in the possibility of making yet another attempt at reviving the "peace process" finds expression these days largely in the phrase "let's first see what March 17 brings," a reference to the upcoming Israeli elections.…Read More... | 19 Comments
Nearly two million Gazans are living in a state of poverty and shortages, with few options of leaving and even fewer options for work. Nearly two million people who live in a giant prison, and Israelis cannot even begin to fathom how terrible their situation is. "I'm extremely concerned that if you leave Gaza in the state it's currently in, you'll have another eruption, and violence, and then we're back in a further catastrophe, so we've got to stop that," warned Quartet envoy Tony Blair during a visit to the Gaza Strip on Sunday. It was his first trip to the…Read More... | 34 Comments
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
Gaza’s younger generation always believed in Hamas’s right to be in power, but Hamas never believed in the youth’s right to take part in their own society. By Abeer Ayyoub I was only 18 when Hamas won the parliamentary elections in 2006. I wasn’t fully aware of the difference Hamas could make for the country, or the development the PA might have been able to offer if it had stayed in power. I was, however, totally convinced that the democratic results should be respected. Hamas won the elections, but democracy wasn’t respected. The Islamic movement was boycotted by almost everyone…Read More... | 3 Comments
If the Israeli government insists on boycotting the new Palestinian unity government, how can it also insist on pouring money into the Palestinian Authority? By the end of June, Israel is expected to once more sit at the same table as the Palestinian Authority - the same Palestinian Authority that it has been so adamant on boycotting following the formation of the new national unity government. The two parties will sit together with the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), a coordinating body formed in 1993 to regulate donations from various states to the PA, with Israel as a monitoring party, at…Read More...
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
Recent statements by Abbas and Hamas leader Abu Marzouk can be seen as the opening salvos in what is sure to be a hotly contested campaign to lead the PLO and, through it, the Palestinian body politic. By Samer Badawi Following the displacement, 66 years ago today, of more than three-quarters of their population and the ethnic cleansing of more than 500 of their villages, Palestinians took 16 years to coalesce around an institutional mechanism that would represent their rights before the world. Formed in 1964, the Palestine Liberation Organization set out to right the wrongs of 1948. Today, however,…Read More...
By ensuring that the diaspora’s rights are fully represented in the Palestinian liberation struggle, Palestinians can draw upon the combined financial and human resources of that worldwide community to finally shed the manacles of Oslo. By Samer Badawi Last week’s unexpected détente between the would-be “governments” of Fatah and Hamas raises more questions than it answers. What exactly is a government of technocrats, and who best to christen their political agnosticism? And so what if Hamas has accepted the terms of the Oslo accords? Can common cause lead to a unified command structure, encompassing, for example, Gaza’s Izz a-Din al-Qassam…Read More... | 13 Comments
By suspending talks over Hamas’s inclusion in the Palestinian leadership, Netanyahu is proving that he was never seeking either a legitimate partner, or a legitimate peace. The Israeli government announced that it is suspending peace talks with the Palestinians on Thursday as a response to the reconciliation deal signed a day earlier by Hamas and the Fatah-dominated PLO. In choosing to disconnect from the already flailing peacemaking process, Israel is demonstrating that it never intended to make peace with the Palestinians, but rather with the “good Palestinians.” Refusing to conduct peace talks with Hamas is one thing, but Netanyahu has decided…Read More... | 10 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
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