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Palestinian Unity

  • War is the new system of governance (and five other Gaza takeaways)

    The status quo of the occupation has reached a new level of violence and destruction, but there is no political power in sight that can impose a change on the ground. 1. Israel paid more than it expected for a bit less than it wanted. Israel’s strategic goal in this war was to maintain the status quo on the Palestinian issue. Prime Minister Netanyahu outlined this notion from the first days of the war, when he presented his ceasefire formula: if Hamas stops shooting, we stop shooting. Israel got most of what it wanted, but at a greater price than expected,…

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  • Palestinian unity is no substitute for a viable political system

    Where do the U.S. and Israel want Hamas: as part of a transparent political system, or in underground tunnels? By Sam Bahour Palestinian “unity,” reconciling tensions between Hamas and Fatah, is being revered as the foundation that can extract Gaza from the misery wrought upon it by yet another brutal Israeli military onslaught. The devastation from what Israel called “Operation Protective Edge” is overwhelming: nearly 2,000 Palestinians dead, over 10,000 wounded and paralyzed, and a third of the 1.8 million people in Gaza homeless. Added to this human tragedy is the rabid destruction of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure. Palestinian political “unity”…

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  • This is a war of choice. Netanyahu's choice

    Netanyahu is no hero, and the tragedy is our own. Prime Minister Netanyahu fired Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon on Tuesday, after the latter criticized Netanyahu for holding fire, and even called him "a lefty," which is probably the worst thing you can say to someone in the current political atmosphere. Sacking Danon is not a risky move (Danon is a far-right politician with little parliamentary support), but firing him helped Netanyahu present himself as “moderate” and “restrained” leader. Yossi Verter says similar things in Haaretz, as does Ron Ben-Yishai in Ynet; even I wrote a few good things about this aspect of Bibi's…

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  • It's time to talk about Gaza

    For the sake of both the residents of Israel's south and the Palestinians, we must speak about Gaza as a place with real people, rather than as a science experiment. Over the past few years, the Israeli public discussion has reduced conditions in Gaza to one of two situations: either it's the place where rockets are fired from, or it's the place where rockets are momentarily not being fired from. Responses to the rocket fire are determined accordingly: attack with vigor or hold back; refrain from entering the Strip or recreate the "achievements" of Operation Cast Lead; allow building materials…

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  • Analysis: The end of the 'cheap occupation' era

    Israel may soon have to say goodbye to its tight-knit cooperation with the Palestinian Authority and the relative calm that comes with it.  The discovery of the bodies of three Israeli teens who have been missing for the last 18 days, along with the public calls for vengeance heard in Israel today, could mark the beginning of a new era in the West Bank – one that is considerably less stable. This might not be a third intifada but it is also not the relative calm or the close military coordination Israel enjoyed over the last five to six years.…

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  • The kidnapping: Israelis aren't the only ones facing national tragedy

    Providing context may be taboo at a time when the entire country is focused on the fate of three kidnapped Israeli teens, but it is part and parcel of the story. Since news broke Friday of the alleged kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers who study in a West Bank yeshiva north of Hebron the night before, media outlets and social media users have been gripping at straws to publicize new information on what has quickly become a national tragedy dominating Israel's public discourse. The kidnapping and reactions to it, however, cannot be viewed in a vacuum. The Israel Defense Forces…

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  • In Gaza, looking back at Hamas’ legacy

    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…

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  • Five possible consequences of Hamas-Fatah unity

    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.…

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  • Hamas: Political pragmatists or Islamic dogmatics?

    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?…

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  • True Palestinian reconciliation must include refugees

    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…

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  • A bold proposal to end the Palestinian-Palestinian impasse

    'It is becoming harder and harder to proclaim one’s affinity for Palestine without an immediate and echoing retort accusing you of either being too quixotic or too compromising.' By Talal Alyan There is something so dreadfully boring about writing a piece about reconciliation. I felt compelled to do so last summer about the broad “Left” and their tendency to devour each other; weeks later I revisited the piece and concluded that it had been a waste of my time. It was too utopian of a plea. So why then do I feel compelled to make a similar plea to Palestinians…

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  • 'We are in a continuous intifada': Interview with Fatah's Husam Zomlot

    By Alexis Thiry Sometimes accused of being an apparatus composed only of old figures, Yasser Arafat’s political formation, Fatah, also includes young personalities. Husam Zomlot, the executive deputy commissioner for Fatah's Commission for International Affairs, embodies the party’s new generation. Fluent in English, he is frequently interviewed by the western media. He talks in a structured manner with passion and determination. He is a recognized scholar both in Palestine and the West, and was part of the delegation presenting the Palestinian statehood request at the United Nations in September 2011. He has agreed to speak about this diplomatic initiative in an…

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  • Occupation remains the obstacle to Palestinian unity

    Put simply, Palestinian unity strikes fear in the hearts of Israeli strategists and military planners. A unified Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza which adopts nonviolent resistance tactics has the potential to inflict incredible damage on the Israeli occupation. Actually, Israel does not have an effective strategy to combat Palestinian nonviolence and unity. Look at the amount of military resources Israel have used to crush small West Bank villages like Nabi Saleh, which embrace unity and nonviolence against occupation. The agreement signed last night between Fatah and Hamas does not represent unity. The reconciliation agreement represents a move…

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