This is a harsh judgment on the Palestinian leadership, while acknowledging the power of the occupation. Roger Cohen describes the PA’s paralysis and Fatah as ‘a revolutionary party that has exhausted itself; ossified and murky’ with an appetite only for ‘sweet deals’; Salam Fayyad, whom Cohen is interviewing, describes Fatah’s leaders as casual, lacking seriousness or strategy, hostage to their own rhetoric. That rhetoric is all that engages the Palestinian people.
Steps to change, from bottom to top. (5) the PA allows Hamas to hold an anniversary rally in Nablus, Dec. 14; (4) Hamas goes back on an agreement to allow Fatah to hold its celebration in Gaza, Dec.16; (3) Fatah announces it will hold the celebration in Gaza City’s al-Saraya square Dec 28, the venue offered by Hamas. (2) Dec. 31, Fatah celebration begins. (1) Fatah flags fly in Gaza.
The International Crisis Group asks a rare question in international relations – how can Hamas move out of the impasse in which it has been frozen for many years? Or should it just stay on the spot waiting for the Arab uprisings to work out in its favour? Many factors are considered, including the loss of its Syrian patron and the pressing demand for Palestinian unity. There are more questions than answers.
The importance of the PLO has dwindled in the last 25 years except for the members who are involved in the PA. Made up of many different groups, its dominant group, Fatah, has had a long enmity with Hamas, which is not in the PLO. Now PLO-Hamas talks and the success of non-violent actions might bring results, suggests Daoud Kuttab, reviving the PLO and the notion of one voice for the Palestinian people.
Marwan Barghouti, the popular Palestinian leader, has been in prison since 2002 for his alleged role in the second intifada. It is widely assumed that he was not freed in the prisoner swap because the official Palestinian leadership regard him as a threat to their authority. Joseph Dana describes this complex man who has supported non-violent and violent resistance but always ia commitment to intellectual work
In a interview with AP, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal (or Meshal) speaks in favour of two-state soution and the ‘tsunami’ power of non-v iolent popular protest. The interview took place in Cairo where Hamas and Fatah are having unity talks
In an assessment of Hamas at 24, Ramzy Baroud ponders the dilemma for an organisation whose popularity depends on showing the symbols of resistance but which also wants to come in from the cold . Reuters reports Hamas is in talks to join the PLO.
The Palestinian impasse – a people divided by territory, strategy and political affiliation, the refusal of outside governments to do business with Hamas – was not resolved by last week’s Cairo meeting of the Hamas and Fatah leaders; but the words and body language were more positive than usual.
The IDF want to release some Fatah prisoners to bolster Abbas’s weakened Palestinian Authority against Hamas. But Netanyahu and his close advisers are determined to maintain pressure on Abbas as punishment for his unilateral bid for UN recognition of a Palestinian state.
Former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband observes the stunted children, overcrowded schools, power cuts and wrecked buildings in Gaza, and deplores the irrationality of the inertia of all political agencies
Obama’s speech underscored ‘that self-government under Israel’s brutal occupation and blackmail is an illusion and it might be better to dissolve the Palestinian Authority that sustains this illusion’ writes Ali Abunimah
Khaled Meshaal, Hamas leader ih Syria has said negotiations with Israel should be given a chance. Mahmoud Zahar, a Hamas official in Gaza, says this does not represent the position of Hamas
English translation of the Palestinian National Reconcilation Agreement made in Cairo, April 2011
If the unity deal holds, Palestinians may be able to move out of the American cul-de-sac towards self-determination and non-violence
Hamas and Fatah have lost their sponsors in the Arab spring, and Egypt moved quickly on its policy priority of Palestinian unity
Brigitte Herremans, Middle East policy officer for the Belgian development NGO Broederlijk Delen and peace movement Pax Christi Flanders, assesses the prospects of some sort of rapprochement between Hamas and Fatah and places developments in a wider international context.
Henry Siegman argues that progress in the peace talks depends on President Obama’s willingness to submit parameters for peace that the US Congress is currently dead opposed to. They also require an effective Palestinian interlocutor – that means an opening to Hamas.
“If the Obama administration will not lead an international initiative to define the parameters of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement and actively promote Palestinian political reconciliation, Europe must do so, and hope America will follow.”
Rachel Shabi assesses the attempt of the Palestinian Authority to reinvent itself as a popular movement and is sceptical about its seriousness…
The request by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the United Nations Human Rights Council last year to postpone the vote on the Goldstone report followed a particularly tense meeting with the head of the Shin Bet security service, Haaretz has learned. At the October meeting in Ramallah, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin told Abbas that if he did not ask for a deferral of the vote on the critical report on last year’s military operation, Israel would turn the West Bank into a “second Gaza.” [...]
Although it appeared that the leadership transition inside the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), the Palestinian Authority (PA), and the Fatah movement was resolved smoothly with the January 2005 election of Mahmoud Abbas following the death of Yasser Arafat, many Palestinians continue to view this as only an interim solution… – A very interesting analysis of the internal dynamics of Fatah, where the obvious candidates turn out not to be the most well placed: “It is the security figures in Fatah who probably will control the future of the movement…”