Palestinian Unity Process Goes Nowhere Fast

(Times of Israel) Avi Issacharoff - On instructions from Egypt, delegates from the various Palestinian groups showed up in Cairo last week to discuss the "historic" reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah. But nothing dramatic was achieved. When the formal report summing up the conference was released, it was clear that while the unity talks had not collapsed, there had been no substantive progress either. More than a month after the original reconciliation document was signed in Cairo, the PA still has not lifted the sanctions it imposed on Gaza - the same sanctions that make it difficult to supply electricity to Gaza, that sent thousands of former PA officials into early retirement, and that prevent the transfer of payments for medical treatment and the purchase of medications for Gaza residents. The average Gazan has felt no alleviation of hardship since the agreement was signed. It is true that Hamas has stopped collecting taxes and customs fees at the Kerem Shalom crossing, but the IDF reported this week that Hamas has instead summoned several hundred merchants and demanded that they pay taxes directly to Hamas on merchandise entering Gaza. Overall, the impression is that Hamas is eager to give up civilian control of Gaza, and the PA is in no hurry to take on this task. At root, there is little true national unity between the Palestinians in the West Bank and their "brethren" in Gaza. Those in the West Bank always regarded the Gazans as somewhat ignorant and extremist; unification with them is no great dream. Meanwhile, PA security coordination with Israel in the West Bank has gone back to full strength. The PA is making arrests, preventing terror attacks, and working against Hamas' political activity and its recruiting and financing system.

2017-11-27 00:00:00

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