Why Real PA Unity Won't Happen

(Jerusalem Post) Hillel Frisch - The conflict between the PA and Hamas boils down to beards. Hamas security personnel are almost always bearded, while the PA's security personnel sport no beards. A bearded security officer means that the political entity he serves is or aspires to be a theocratic state. A non-bearded member of an official security force means that the state he serves is secular and most certainly anti-theocratic. Even absent the crucial religious element, the PA/Fatah-Hamas standoff is a bitter zero-sum game and the prospects of true Hamas-Fatah unity are negligible. In Egypt during the "Arab Spring," it was clear from the beginning to the Egyptian army that the Muslim Brotherhood must be confronted at all costs. The episode ended in zero-sum fashion with President Sisi emerging all-powerful, and Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi locked in jail. The common denominator is that one side was totally victorious and the other totally defeated. Only a similar showdown in Gaza can decide between PA and Hamas rule. But it is doubtful whether the Fatah-led PA can muster the strength to make a true bid for absolute power in Gaza, and even more unlikely that it will win a shootout. The writer is a professor of political and Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University and a senior fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies.

2017-10-19 00:00:00

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