Mur­ders ex­pose the cracks in the Pales­tinian ed­i­fice

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - TOBY GREENE Dr Toby Greene is the Di­rec­tor of Re­search for BICOM

WHAT DOES the mur­der of three teens in the West Bank at the hands of Ha­mas op­er­a­tives mean for Pales­tinian rec­on­cil­i­a­tion?

Is­rael was dis­ap­pointed at the speed with which both the US and the EU em­braced the Pales­tinian unity govern­ment when it was an­nounced at the be­gin­ning of June.

But within the Is­raeli govern­ment, there was also a de­bate about how to re­late to it.

Prime Min­is­ter Ne­tanyahu took the po­si­tion that any rec­on­cil­i­a­tion be­tween PA Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas and Ha­mas was an­ti­thet­i­cal to peace with Is­rael, and said there could be no talks un­der such con­di­tions.

Tzipi Livni ar­gued that Is­rael should make a distinc­tion be­tween the unity govern­ment — which it­self con­tains no Ha­mas mem­bers — and Ha­mas it­self, and con­tinue to deal with the for­mer.

The cab­i­net ul­ti­mately de­clared it would not ne­go­ti­ate with a govern­ment backed by a ter­ror group. But it held off from an­nounc­ing im­me­di­ate sanc­tions. Is­rael was watch­ing to see how the deal would play out.

Even be­fore the kid­nap­ping, the Pales­tinian rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process looked weak. The new “unity” cab­i­net that Mr Ab­bas an­nounced at the be­gin­ning of June looked more like a reshuf­fle, with the same prime min­is­ter, for­eign min­is­ter and fi­nance min­is­ter as be­fore. Mr Ab­bas was also un­will­ing to sign up 40,000 Ha­mas “civil ser­vants” in Gaza to the PA pay­roll, in­sist­ing on a vet­ting process which was set to take months.

Mean­while, Ha­mas in­sisted that it re­main in ef­fec­tive con­trol of the Gaza Strip, and it made no in­di­ca­tion that it was mov­ing to­wards ac­cep­tance of the Quar­tet con­di­tions. For both sides it looked like a dis­play of unity for in­ter­nal do­mes­tic con­sump­tion and, in the case of Ha­mas, an at­tempt to dig its way out of its re­gional isolation and se­vere eco­nomic prob­lems.

Then came the kid­nap­ping. PA of­fi­cials pri­vately ac­cepted that Ha­mas af­fil­i­ates were in­volved, and said that if the or­ders came from above, this was a con­tra­ven­tion of their agree­ment.

It is un­clear where the or­ders came from, and how far Ha­mas’s lead­er­ship wanted it to hap­pen. But wher­ever the or­ders came from, the in­ci­dent has ex­posed the su­per­fi­cial­ity of the Pales­tinian rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process.

Mr Ab­bas pub­licly con­demned the kid­nap­ping, and Pales­tinian se­cu­rity forces con­tin­ued their co­op­er­a­tion with the IDF. Mean­while in Gaza, Ha­mas lead­ers praised the ab­duc­tion.

Is­rael would like to see Mr Ab­bas dis­solve the deal with Ha­mas. It is un­clear whether he will take such a step. Ul­ti­mately, the mur­ders re­veal that the Pales­tinian unity deal can­not with­stand its own in­ter­nal con­tra­dic­tions.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.