Senior Journalist: Hamas and Fatah Deal Won't Last

On the surface, Fatah and Hamas seem to be getting along - but it won't last, said a senior Israeli journalist.

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Moshe Cohen,

Hamas Fatah reconciliation (file)
Hamas Fatah reconciliation (file)
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Hamas and Fatah have tried numerous times in the past to work together, but the deals never “stuck” - and neither will this one, said journalist Baruch Yedid, who has reported on and has excellent connections with the Palestinian Authority for years.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva, the agreement between Fatah and Hamas last month to join together to run the PA is doomed to failure, if past performance is any indication. The two groups are so far apart ideologically and politically on so many issues, “the likelihood of a true collaboration are less than next to nothing,” he said.

Many of the issues go beyond ideology, and deal with the daily bread and butter issues that truly concern Palestinians. Among them is the question of whether or not Fatah will agree to pay the salaries of workers in Hamas' Gaza government. There are 40,000 such workers, and Fatah does not regard them as legal. Paying them, said Yedid, would constitute a big drain on Fatah's finances (Hamas at this point does not have any substantial income to speak of, after Iran cut off funding last year, he said). In addition, he said, Hamas is demanding the right to recruit members in PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, a move Fatah bitterly opposes.

Fatah is also demanding that Hamas disband its “security forces” in Gaza, and that the PA become the official security body in Gaza. In recent days, Hamas Gaza chief Ismail Haniyeh said that he not only would disband the groups – he was going on a recruiting campaign to increase their members, and establish a “Jerusalem Brigade” to operate in the city.

While the two sides have tried to maintain public peace for the sake of the deal's image, said Yedid, behind the scenes a bitter debate, rife with threats and incitement by both sides, has developed. Hamas members accuse Fatah officials of acting like “mobsters,” trying to intimidate them to toe the line, while Fatah members say that Hamas' real aim is to foment an Islamist revolution in the PA.

Considering all this, Yedid said, “the situation is far from one that would enhance cooperation.” For now, he said, Hamas was happy to let PA chief Mahmoud Abbas in order to use the unity government to extract more money from the West – but sooner or later, he said, things were going to fall apart, probably in a most violent manner.