Is Hamas Preparing to Inherit the Palestinian Authority?

(Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Jonathan D. Halevi - * There is growing evidence that Fatah, the Palestinian faction that today dominates the PLO, may not remain the power center of Palestinian politics in the post-Arafat era. Hamas is preparing itself to inherit the Palestinian Authority. * At the Cairo talks in December 2003, for the first time, Hamas openly and confidently challenged the basic Palestinian view that the PLO is the sole and exclusive representative of the Palestinian people. Hamas demanded partnership status in the adoption of all decisions. It also used the Cairo talks in order to achieve recognition from Egypt and other Arab states. In this spirit, it insisted that the U.S. remove it from the list of recognized terrorist organizations. * The erosion in the PLO's standing was accelerated by the establishment of the supreme coordinating framework known as the "National and Islamic Forces" at the onset of the intifada, with Arafat's approval. This body has become the PLO's rival, since it is the sole body that includes all the Islamic organizations and secular groups. * Hamas has established its own "army" in the Gaza Strip as a source of power and strength in opposition to the Palestinian Authority, in the understanding that the force that controls the Strip is the one that will actually succeed the Palestinian Authority. * Any scenarios for the future that do not take into account the possibility of a Hamas takeover of the Palestinian political system are seriously deficient.

2004-01-07 00:00:00

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