Palestinian HAMAS, FATAH Cannot Unite – American, Arab Experts

Politics Materials 12 April 2008 15:39 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, 12 April / Trend corr A. Gasimova, E. Tariverdiyeva/ Unification of Palestine's Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas and the country's governing party Fatah my contribute into establishing of peace in the region, but probably will not be acceptable to both sides.

"It is winner take all. If Fatah formally recognizes Hamas' power it will have signed its own death warrant.  If Hamas gives up control of Gaza, then it has given up its powerbase," Aaron Mannes, American expert on Middle East, said to Trend .

On 7 April, Israeli MIGNEWS agency reported that the leader of the Palestinian autonomy Mahmoud Abbas is secretly negotiating with Hamas. Israeli portal DEBKA reported that the sides agreed on unification of Fatah and Hamas to peacefully seizure the power by Islamists in Judea and Samaria.

"In case of unification Fatah will be quickly marginalized by Hamas," Mannes said via e-mail on 11 April. "Palestinian politics does not, at this point, support a multi-party system. Hamas and Fatah signed an agreement that they will never implement. Hamas has no incentive to surrender control of Gaza and Fatah will certainly not give up any of its power (if it does it will quickly be marginalized by Hamas)," Mannes said.

On 10 April, Fatah was unavailable for interviewing on secret negotiations with Hamas. "The talks between Haham and Fatah does not mean their merging," pro-Fatah expert Isam Mohammad said to Trend . He believes that the unification of Hamas and Fatah is impossible. "Both movements differ from each other for their ideological and political views," said Mohammad, the dean of Islam University of Gaza in a telephone conversation on 10 April.

According to Gawdat Bahgat, American expert, the harsher the conditions under which the majority of Palestinians live and the more violent the Israeli stand, the more Fatah and Hamas are likely to work together. The bottom line is the two movements represent different segments and aspirations among the Palestinians "The two movements share mutual goal in getting Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territory. However, they differ on the means to achieve this goal and on their visions for a future Palestinian state. Fatah has endorsed peaceful negotiations with Israel while Hamas adopts military resistance," said Bahgat, the Director of on Center on Study of Near East of Pennsylvania University.

The expert said that Hamas was based on Palestine for a short time. "Hamas won national election in 2006. Somehow, a way has to be found to deal with Hamas. On the other side, Hamas has to moderate its stand and accept peaceful negotiations," expert said.

There is a need to encourage to return to the Government of National Unity, said Francis Boyle, the professor of Illinois University of U.S. "I encouraged the Arab States not to choose sides between Fatah and Hamas, but instead to promote the Government of National Unity," he said. I concluded that the Government of National Unity must come up with a program to resist illegal Israeli military occupation policies, he said.

Nasser Laham, the director of Palestinian news agency MAAN and political expert also believes that the talks between Fatah and Hamas should not be taken as their unification. "The key difference between these organizations is that Hamas is more radical while Fatah demonstrates more liberal policy concerning Israel," Laham said to Trend on a telephone on 10 April from Ramallah.

According to the political expert, the fact that Abbas began political talks with Hamas is a strong blow to the Palestine-Israel peace talks. "Hamas is not officially recognized by any state and holding talks between official government body and this organization does not seem convincing," said Laham.

"Secret negotiations between Hamas and Fatah are impossible," Sami Abu-Zahri, the Hamas Spokesman, said to Trend . "Hamas's activities are transparent. If we had any intention to unite, we would have officially announced that," he said in a telephonic conversation from Gaza.

Abu-Zahri said that the two organizations cannot unite. "Unification with the organization which pursues a policy contradicting with the interest of Palestinians is out of question," he said.

Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) is a Palestinian Sunni Islamist militant organization and political party. It currently holds a majority of seats in the legislative council of the Palestinian Authority. Hamas was created in 1987 by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin of the Gaza wing of the Muslim Brotherhood at the beginning of the First Intifada. The aim of creating of the organization is to establish Palestinian State from Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea, i.e. on the territory of Gaza, west coast of Jordan River and Israel.

Fatah is a movement for national liberation of Palestine, was founded in 1956. The historical leaders of the movement are Yassir Arafat, (Abu Ammar), Salah Halaf (Abu Ayad), Khalil al-Vazir (Abu Jihad), Faruk Kaddumi (Abu Lutf) and Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen).

Hamas, winning by majority during the parliamentary elections in Palestine in 2005, laid hands on political structures, which belonged to Fatah and took control over Gaza through military methods. The west coast of the Jordan River is under the control of the ruling Fatah party, headed by Mahmoud Abbas.