Palestinian Unity Government: Mission Impossible

Written by Subject: Israel - Palestine

Palestinian Unity Government: Mission Impossible

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)

Hamas and Fatah agreed in principle to unity government, details largely sketchy.

Reportedly, the Palestinian Authority will control Gaza's border crossing with Egypt. Legislative, presidential and national elections will be held within one year.

Earlier unity deals collapsed. Consider the obstacles. Netanyahu opposes unity, saying he won't accept "imaginary appeasement where the Palestinian side is reconciling at the expense of our existence," adding:

A precondition is recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, a nonstarter straightaway. He demands Hamas dismantle its military wing, leaving itself defenseless, along with severing ties to Iran.

Hamas won't ever forego its legitimate right of resistance against oppressive occupation harshness. 

Nor will it disarm or relinquish the right to have relations with any country. It won't recognize Israel as a Jewish state occupying stolen Palestinian land.

Mondoweiss spoke to Palestinian Birzeit University political scientist Gassan Khatib. He explained Thursday's agreement lacked concrete resolution, a broad-brush one only - much like a 2011 one that failed, this one likely to fare no better.

"My guess is that they did not agree on anything except the scope of how (PA Prime Minister) Hamdallah's government will come into play in Gaza," said Khatib. 

"The agreement probably includes vague language. I don't think they agreed on other real topics because both sides cannot afford to come to any agreement concerning how to move forward in terms of politics, security and election issues."

They "seem to be going into a gradual approach, starting with the possible and leaving the impossible for later" - even though tough issues will be no easier to resolve then than now, Hamas and the PA world's apart on them.

"I see two main obstacles stopping the (PA from performing) its duties in Gaza," Khatib explained. "The first is funds." 

"With this 'hot potato' thrown into the lap of Hamdallah, he is going to need more funding, and I don't expect the international community or the Arab community to cover these additional needs." 

"Second, is dealing with a dual authority" - the Hamas shadow government contesting Ramallah on issues. 

"These two obstacles make this whole mission impossible…Inviting the PA to work in Gaza without a full agreement, is nothing more than a trap. But we shall see."

The broad brush agreement is set to take effect by December 1. I agree with Khatib's assessment.

In an earlier article, I said the deal is going nowhere. Hamas won't relinquish its right to resist, disarm, or serve as Israel's enforcer like the PA, making unity government impossible on these issues alone.

As Khatib said, we'll see what happens. Fair enough but the possibility of squaring this circle looks grim.

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