Hamas and Fatah Move Closer To Forming Interim National Unity Government

In my three-part series entitled Palestinian Quest For Statehood And UN Resolution 377 -- which I released just three weeks ago -- I made the following comments:

. . . So how might the Jews attempt to achieve this objective of confounding Palestinian statehood intentions at the United Nations?

In my opinion, it would be by exploiting the Palestinians' biggest vulnerability, and that is the current division that exists between Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Mahmoud Abbas -- the Palestinian Authority president -- and Ismail Haniyeh -- the disputed Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority who now heads Hamas in the Gaza Strip -- no doubt recognize this danger; and I suspect that this may be why they have recently made attempts to be reconciled in a national unity government, even though it will come at a very high price for Abbas, insofar as Israel is concerned. In other words, Netanyahu's government has already informed Abbas that he must make a choice. Either he chooses Hamas, or he chooses negotiations with Israel.

Assuming that Abbas continues to work towards some degree of unity with Hamas, not only will a unified government further convince the United Nations that the Palestinians are ready for statehood, and membership in the UN, but it will also help to insulate the Palestinians against any machinations that the Israelis may devise against them.

While I honestly don't know what is going on between Mahmoud Abbas and Ismail Haneya at this current time, the impression I get is that perhaps Haneya is willing to give Abbas a final chance to prove that his approach -- that is, navigating the diplomatic channels of the world and the United Nations -- is the right way to achieve their objectives. If Mahmoud Abbas fails this time, my sense is that not only will he probably abandon any further attempts at arriving at peace with the Israelis, but Ismail Haneya will become even more convinced that his way is the right way, and that violent warfare is the only means to achieve Palestinian objectives.

As you may have heard, it was just announced from Cairo, Egypt that Hamas and Fatah have in fact now taken solid steps to form an interim unity government. Given the rough relationship which has existed between the two entities, it is difficult to say whether or not this endeavor at unity will succeed.

As was to be expected, the government of Israel immediately condemned Palestinian attempts at unity between Fatah and Hamas, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his government's position that Mahmoud Abbas -- the president of the Palestinian National Authority -- must choose between making peace with Israel, and embracing Hamas in a unity government.

As I believe I noted in the aforementioned series, in my view, Benjamin Netanyahu has done too little, too late, and now he may be left on the sidelines due to Israeli procrastination, and obstinacy in continuing with settlement expansion, contrary to world opinion. In fact, this belligerence may symbolically represent Netanyahu placing the noose around his own neck in a political sense. Time will certainly tell.

It will now be interesting to see what kind of political dance and public relations dance Mahmoud Abbas and Ismail Haneya do together as September approaches, and they prepare to make their bid to the United Nations for recognition of Palestinian statehood, and Palestinian membership in that world body.

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