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The U.S. Sees an Opportunity in the Palestinian Reconciliation

Israel feigns anger over the Fatah-Hamas detente, but the whole region is hopeful.

Jonathan Schanzer
13th October 2017 - Quoted by Eli Lake - Bloomberg

Usually the U.S. and Israel are on the same page when it comes to reconciling the two rival Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah. Until Hamas renounces terror and disarms, both Washington and Jerusalem have opposed its integration into the Palestinian Authority.

That's why it's important that the reaction from the U.S. and Israel was so different Thursday to news of the latest Hamas-Fatah unity deal. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a statement on his Facebook page, did not mince words: "Reconciling with mass-murderers is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Say yes to peace and no to joining hands with Hamas."


Jonathan Schanzer, the senior vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told me the recent reconciliation agreement "is part of an overall attempt to shape the regional architecture." He said this was a gambit to try to take power out of the hands of Turkey, Iran and Qatar and to reassert the role of the more moderate Sunni Arab powers like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. "There is a certain amount of quiet coordination going on," Schanzer said. "It's hinting at the potential for deeper coordination between Israel and the Sunni Arab states."

Put another way, an element of this deal is to make Hamas, which is facing its own political and economic crisis, more reliant on moderate Sunni Arab states, who in turn will try to moderate the radicals.

At least that is the theory. Schanzer points out that Hamas this month elevated Saleh al-Arouri to its second-in-command. He was the planner of the 2014 kidnapping and murder of Jewish teenagers that sparked the last war between Hamas and Israel. He is also the founder of Hamas' Qassam Brigade.


Read more here.


fatah, hamas, palestinian-authority, palestinian-politics