The Palestinian Civil War
The Palestinian Civil War

The tension between the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas Organization in Gaza is approaching the boiling point, as a result of several factors:

The dire economic situation in Gaza, the unbridgeable chasm between Hamas and Fatah's outlook,  a stalemate in Israel-PLO negotiations, the postponement of any attempts at progress between Israel and the Palestinians during the election period, the approaching date for announcing the US government's "deal of the century" - and the constant leaks about its content - the strengthening of relations between Israel and several Arab states and, of course, the lack of any chance on the political horizon that Israel will pack its bags and return to the 1949 lines.

Hamas is in financial straits because its flow of Iranian support has dried up as a result of the economic sanctions on Iran, while the economic crisis in Turkey casts a shadow on Sultan Erdogan's proteges, the heads of Hamas in Gaza. Hamas members in Judea and Samaria are being hunted down by Israeli and PA security forces, who work hand in hand 24/7 against the terror organization.   

The article I have brought below (in translation), with my clarifications in parentheses, appeared on a pro-Hamas site n early January 2019.

What lies behind Mahmoud Abbas' hysteria

An article by Ra'afat Mara.

"Anyone observing the behavior of Palestinian Authority chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, realizes very soon that he functions under tense, extremely difficult political conditions and that the decisions he has been making are bad ones and detrimental to all Palestinians.

"Anyone observing Mahmoud Abbas becomes aware of the evil impulses he harbors inside him, of how he is an extremist who thinks in terms of settling scores, is ruled by a tendency to take revenge and does not mind causing injury to every Palestinian as long as he can spew poisonous hatred in every direction. There is not one Palestinian or group of Palestinians who have been spared Mahmoud Abbas' blind hatred.

Anyone observing Mahmoud Abbas becomes aware of the evil impulses he harbors inside him, of how he is an extremist who thinks in terms of settling scores, is ruled by a tendency to take revenge and does not mind causing injury to every Palestinian as long as he can spew poisonous hatred in every direction.
"His criminal acts have caused damage to Fatah itself, the group which has lost the most because of his unstable behavior.  

"About a year ago, Abbas made decisions and decided on punitive measures against all Palestinians, against PLO splinter groups, against the Gaza Strip and against Fatah members. He steadfastly ignored the demands of the PLO splinter groups which refused to assemble the National Palestinian Council and the PLO Central Committee while under the occupation and for as long as there is no real national understanding or peaceful relationship with Hamas.

"Abbas has ceased paying the salaries of Fatah workers, cut the salaries of prisoners, held back funds meant for the sick, suspended the agreement signed with hospital sanitation workers, and cut off Gaza's electricity.

"Abbas publicized a decision to dissolve the Legislative Council elected by the people, thwarted peace efforts with Hamas and the establishment of an agreed upon government with them, dismissed the PA personnel at the Rafah crossing (which caused Egypt to close its side of the crossing) – and these are not the only bad decisions he has made.

"There are several reasons for this hysterical behavior on the part of Mahmoud Abbas, the most important of which are:

"1. Hamas' ability to stand strong during the last year in the face of Abbas' sanctions and the siege he laid on Gaza. In fact, the Hamas movement withstood the pressure, managed to overcome the attempted siege whose objective was to weaken the organization, and did not give in. Hamas foiled Abbas' plans by means of good policies, national consensus and several steps that provided public services on the ground.

"2. Hamas continues to commit violent and armed terror attacks against the occupation in the West Bank.  Hamas succeeded in killing several soldiers of the occupation, raising the level of hostility in the West Bank. These operations enhance Hamas' political importance in the eyes of the public, while Abbas and his government played the role of security service providers who collaborate with the enemy and whose mandate is to protect that enemy.

"3. Hamas succeeded in creating a true Palestinian national vision that includes the vast majority of Palestinian society's components by presenting a broad nationalist  outlook vis a vis the dialogue with the PLO,  one based on reconcilitation, cooperation, free elections and building a joint government. Abbas played the part of the person who refuses to accept these suggestions, bringing the entire process to a halt.

"4. The March of Return sustained broad mass momentum involving amazing sacrifice and succeeded in achieving more against the occupation than one victorious moment because it united all the Palestinian forces and the masses of our people, in the country, and out of it in the Hamas camp.

"5. Hamas proved that it is in its power to neutralize disagreements with several influential states in the region, maintain the dialogue it began with them, and develop relations with these states.

"6. There is a strong mutual understanding between the American government and the occupying government. It is this understanding that will bring us "the deal of the century" and the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the occupation. This has put to an end to Mahmoud Abbas' hopes to begin to settle the conflict with Israel, to the idea of a Palestinian State (on a portion of Palestine), legitimized the settlements, cancelled the right of return and presented the PLO as a terror organization. What this means is the collapse of Abu Mazen's dream of negotiations.

"7.  The Palestinian public, both within Falestin and outside it, supports Hamas. This received strong expression in more than one way, from free elections held in the universities and elections taking place in countries allowing Palestinian refugees within their borders, as Hamas (as opposed to the PLO) is willing to back the refugees in their pursuit of rights and reparations as well as to protect them.

"These and other reasons contributed to turning Mahmoud Abbas into the person standing in the way of nationalist dialogue, the person destroying national Palestinian aspirations and the enemy of the opposition, without his achieving the political quid pro quo for his aid to the occupation. Over the past few weeks he has raised the level of his declarations  Protecting the occupation, careful to preserve the security coordination (with Israel) and refusing to accept any form of opposition.

"The problem is that the biggest loser as a result of Abbas' hysterical behavior is the Palestinian issue and Palestinian national aspirations as well as the heroic shaheeds, wounded and imprisoned, of whom the Barghouti and Na'alwa families are living paradigms (families of the terrorists who murdered Jews in recent months)."

Mr. Ra'afat's article ends here. He put pen to paper and expressed what Hamas members think of Abbas and the Palestinian Authority he chairs.  

Abbas and his Fatah cohorts, however, did not let him have the last word: They speak constantly about the terrible injury Hamas inflicted on the Palestinian dream when it took over Gaza by force of arms, an eye-opener that led to Israel's realizing that the same violence would occur if a Palestinian state were to be established in Judea and Samaria.

The split between the two forces limits the ability of the Palestinian Arabs to maneuver because it is not clear to the world who represents the Palestinians and who is actually responsible for their fate. The split allows hostile elements such as Iran to entrench their influence in Palestinian Arab society, against the Palestinian desire to take control of their own decision-making. As a result of the split and the accusations hurled from Gaza, as seen in the article brought here, it is clear that Hamas is supported by the Arabs of Judea and Samaria, bringing the probability that Israel will allow the establishment of a Palestinian state there close to zero.

Abbas' supporters claim that Hamas is responsible for the suffering of Gaza residents, because the Hamas takeover put them in charge of what happens in the Strip. Since he has no control over what happens with the money he transfers to Gaza, Abbas, accordingly, has ceased funding the Strip.

In the final analysis, the split between the PLO and Hamas, Ramallah and Gaza, Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip, is not a controversy, but a deep chasm. And it is permanent.  The reality is one of two cultural patterns, two entities, two agendas, and the world does not contain a bridge long enough to connect the worldviews and behavior of the two sides.

The old and unanswered question lurks behind the scenes, awaiting a definitive response: Is there really a "Palestinian nation?" And the answer is in the negative. In the Middle East there are no nations, only tribes and the tribes living in Judea and Samaria are not the same as those living in the Gaza Strip. This is the incontrovertible sociological fact behind the political split between the PLO and Hamas.

Translated from the Hebrew by Rochel Sylvetsky, Op-ed and Judaism Editor Arutz Sheva.