Israel Bets Against Palestinian Unity

(Al-Monitor) Ben Caspit - A former Israel Security Agency head told me that not long after the signing of the Oslo Accord (1993), Israel agreed to a trial period for a "safe passageway" for Gaza residents to travel to the West Bank. "After less than a week, the Ramallah governor turned to us and begged us to close the passageway. The Ramallah people simply didn't want the Gaza people mingling with them. We are talking about two populations that are different and incompatible. There is no great love between Gaza and the West Bank, no real identification." More than 20 years later, Israeli intelligence continues to maintain that any reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah is a temporary meeting of interests and will not last long. Hamas' strategic goal continues to be ruling the Palestinian people, thus requiring that it push Fatah from its position of leadership. The American administration backs the attempt at Palestinian unity because it views reconciliation as a significant tailwind behind Trump's efforts to exhaust diplomatic negotiations. Egyptian President al-Sisi is investing everything in the unification effort. Sisi loathes Hamas, viewing the Muslim Brotherhood as Egypt's first and foremost strategic enemy. Therefore, the Palestinian Authority's return to controlling Gaza would be a significant achievement for him.

2017-10-06 00:00:00

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