Palestine State: Apple of Discord between FATH and HAMAS: TrendNews Commentator
Arie Gut, Trend Special Correspondent in Jerusalem
The Palestinian movements FATH and HAMAS, which quarreled between themselves, are prepared for reconciliation and re-establishment of the unity of political system. The initiative of the peaceful negotiations was made by Egypt, which was agreed to undertake the role of mediator in settlement of the conflict. The initiative, which is intended to be approved at the November meeting of all Palestinian fractions, envisages creating a Government of National Unity, which will deal with the removal of the blockade of Gaza Strip, the preparation for the presidential and parliamentary elections, reformation of law-enforcement structures.
In June of last year, HAMAS took Gaza under its control, extruding supporters FATH and the Head of the Palestinian National Administration, Mahmud Abbas, who control the West Bank of Jordan River. In order to confirm peaceful initiative and begin its practical realization, Egypt will hold the conference of the large Palestinian organizations. Demarcation with HAMAS, which was part of the coalition cabinet until revolution and up to now, makes up majority in the Parliament, allowed Mahmud Abbas to re-establish peaceful talks with Israel and opened an access to the multibillion aid of foreign donors.
For HAMAS the mutiny resulted in blockade of HAMAS-controlled Gaza and arrests of the activists of Movement on the West Bank. The supporters FATH also express hope that the Egyptian proposals will make it possible to overcome the spilt. "At the initiative of Egypt, it is possible to lean on achieving unifying understanding. "We, FATH, promise people to do the best so that the dialogue would take place successfully," mentioned in the statement released on behalf of the press- secretary of Movement, Fahmi az-Zaarir.
At the last meeting of the League of Arab States, the Arab countries sharply criticized the actions of HAMAS and FATH, which actually divided Palestinian territory into two parts. According to common opinion, this considerably removes the prospect of creating the united and independent Palestinian state. The proposals, formulated as a result of consultations with the basic Palestinian political forces, also envisage maintaining reconciliation with Israel during the period of national dialogue, establishing four committees to resolve disputable questions, including forming government and dates of elections, maintaining prerogative of the Palestine Liberation Organization for the negotiations with the Israelis.
HAMAS has its special peculiarities: Hamas was created in 1987 by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Mohammad Taha of the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.
A while ago Mahmoud Abbas tries to keep a conciliatory line with respect to this organization in the context of strategy on establishment of a peace process with Israel. At the end of 2004 he namely insisted on the participation of this organization in the parliamentary elections, supposing FATAH 'renewed' under his leadership to gain an easy victory over extremists.
Palestinians' disappointment in corrupted FATAH played a fatal role. HAMAS won the majority in the legislative assembly of the autonomy. And general economic regularity appeared here - like in Algeria, and even earlier in Egypt, moderate leaders realized for the next time that it is impossible to achieve a common agreement with religious fundamentals.
Since the very moment of victory, HAMAS has faced some difficulties, first of all economical, related to refusal of the United States and some other countries of Europe to render financial assistance to Palestine. The second difficulty emerged in the interrelations with FATAH party, which was not prepared to reconcile with the loss of power and despite failure in the previous elections, remains to be a serious force in Palestine. The first factor, i.e. non-recognition of HAMAS government in many world countries, made HAMAS to go to compromise with FATAH. However, the compromise was not found. The mediation by Saudi King was also helpless. As a result of provocations Palestine was divided into two parts, which was governed by different political forces.
Major danger for stability is not portrayed by Abbas's leaving, but FATAH's unwillingness to change its leader. Aby Mazen's supporters appeal to law, enabling it to preserve its position for one year more, so that the presidential elections could coincide to the parliamentary vote. HAMAS is decisively against such conversion and it is not so surprising: a year can see too many developments, even the establishment of the Palestinian state. Orally, HAMAS is prepared to support the establishment of "Government of national unity". So, demands are laid for the sake of this unity. FATAH will either accept them, or break up "final and decisive fighting" against HAMAS, as the Israeli intelligence alarms. It gives birth to assumptions that HAMAS will not break armistice, but rather extend it for six month more to settle finally the relations with FATAH. Amid all problems, including formation of coalition, economic crisis, replacement in the power in White House, presentations by Arab citizens of the country, at least HAMAS grants respite to Israel.
Attempts to keep Abbas in his position for additional one year will more probably cause new clashes between the supporters of FATAH and HAMAS. The most powerful - HAMAS - will win this war, or FATAH radical forces, who also want to consolidate their political positions. Even if Mahmoud Abbas preserves his position, he will have to listen to radicals from his own party. They will namely dictate terms in the new round of peace talks with Israel.