Rumours continue that Hamas and Israel are engaged in serious peace talks – denounced by Lieberman as ‘surrendering to terror’. Hamas wants the siege eased, Israel wants to stop rockets, both sides want to undermine any authority held by Fatah and the PA. Which means recognition of Hamas-ruled Gaza as a mini-state.
Fatah is expected to hold its seventh congress in its history at the same time as it is holding its 50th anniversary celebrations. The toughest question is whether it can claim to be the leader of Palestinian resistance while it is also the party of government. In its latter role, it has been harshly criticised for corruption, collaboration, crony capitalism and, by failing to hold elections, also failing to nurture a younger political generation .
As one man from Gaza bitterly observes pets have a better life than the humans: kind people bestow on animals the essentials of food, water, shelter and human attention – and the people of Gaza are deprived of all of these. This unkindness is attributed to the Gazan people’s choice of Israel-hating Hamas as a government. The consultancy Al Shafie Miles sees the isolation of Hamas becoming more acute as Egypt puts out feelers towards a rapprochement with Fatah.
The government of Dr. Rami Hamdallah was only meant to be transitional, until reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah arrived at some conclusion – but not as transitional as two weeks. Mr Hamdallah seems to have been taken aback by the impossibility of his task – how to act as a PM under the authority of President Abbas and his forbidding enclave of Fatah apparatchiks and within the constraint of the Paris protocol.
From Gaza Youth Break Out, a fresh and energetic voice, pushing aside the stale declamations and sectarian conflict of their elders. They want, above all, an end to the occupation which deforms the lives of Palestinians and Israelis; they want freedom and dignity and their own voice which Fatah and Hamas deny them. They want support.
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