Rami Khouri: Hamas-Fatah Unity Vital

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In this article, Rami Khouri, a Palestinian-Jordanian political columnist and editor-at-large of the Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star whose writings I find to be generally fair, articulates a view common to Europe, the Arab world and the left which has called for unity between Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, arguing that success on the Palestinian side at the upcoming Annapolis peace parley and/or anything in its aftermath is doomed to fail without such unity. This is moreover an obvious diagnosis because neither group is likely to be able to defeat the other group militarily and enforce its will on the other in all the Palestinian territories (Hamas succeeded in doing so only in Gaza and this proved to be a blunder), and because the basic currents in the Palestinian territories responsible for the rise of Hamas remain. In addition, Hamas, nasty as the group is, will not simply disappear despite local and international efforts to destroy it. Of course, failure of the Palestinian Authority to enforce any new order signed in the peace agreements would mean a failure for the Israeli side as well. More interestingly, Khouri has pointed out that the problem of factionalism and multiple governance seen between Hamas and Fatah is not confined to the Palestinian territories but is really reflected in a wider trend spreading across the Arab world. Khouri is right — you should keep an eye on this trend, it will spread in harmony with other divisions plaguing the Arab world including the Sunni/Shiite split and Islamist/secularist divide. Click on the link below for the full article.

The Vital Need for National Unity of Fateh and Hamas

By Rami G. Khouri

(Agence Global) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ call on November 15, for the Hamas “gang” to be ousted from Gaza is understandable, but misguided. Hamas are no angels, and their police’s shooting of seven Palestinian demonstrators from Abbas’ Fateh faction earlier this week during a pro-Fateh rally in Gaza is the sort of act that blackens their name. Yet for Abbas to refer to Hamas as a “gang” and ask for their ouster is only going to worsen the tensions between Palestinians, at a time when precisely the opposite is required.

The Fateh-Hamas discord is a distinctly Palestinian problem, but also a reflection of a trend throughout the contemporary Arab world, where single states or societies are increasingly being governed by multiple authorities. These multiple authorities are often proxies for the regional and global powers that face off in the Middle East, especially the United States, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Israel…

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