Fatah-Hamas Struggle Blocks Progress on Peace with Israel

[Hudson Institute] Khaled Abu Toameh - We are now dealing with two separate Palestinian entities in the West Bank and Gaza and we don't have one clear address on the Palestinian side. Because of this split, there is no real partner for peace on the Palestinian side. Hamas is not a partner because of their ideology and Fatah is not a partner because they are weak, corrupt and unable to deliver. Mahmoud Abbas' term in office expires on Jan. 9, 2009, exactly four years after he was elected to succeed Yasser Arafat. But Abbas has made it clear that he intends to stay in power beyond that date, saying he is entitled to unilaterally extend his term by another year. Hamas says it won't recognize Abbas' legitimacy after Jan. 9. What does all this mean for U.S. efforts to "boost" the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians? If Abbas does remain in power, he will be depicted by his opponents as "another Arab dictator." Abbas will lose much credibility and legitimacy among his own people. He will no longer be able to present himself as an elected leader. The new U.S. administration will have to deal with a weaker Abbas - one who would never be able to sell any agreement with Israel to the majority of the Palestinians. Unless the Palestinians end the power struggle between Fatah and Hamas, there is no hope for making any progress toward solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

2008-12-08 01:00:00

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