Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Hamas-Fatah Palestine

Members of Fatah and Hamas have agreed on an unity government in hopes of ending the bloodshed that both their respective militias have released upon the Palestinian people. The new government says it is moderate and recognition of Israel is implicit. However, the United States is "disturbed" by the government's platform due to, among other things, the continued support of armed violence against Israel.

Norway announced it will resume relations with the Palestinian Authority. This means Norway will restart aid shipments of supplies and money to the Hamas-led unity government. The various governments of the Western world originally cut off aid after Hamas' electoral victory in early 2006. Iran has been able to offer some monetary and military support to the Hamas government in the meantime. This relationship has led Hamas' Palestine to be in the very rare minority of Sunni governments who support Iran and Hezbollah.

Norway seems to be Nixon going to China. Several other EU countries are planning on resuming support to the Palestinian Authority and Arab states are putting pressure on America to recognize the new government. The United States blessing is the prize for Hamas. If it can get American aid than no one can doubt Hamas' legitimacy and it will be able to bank roll its expanding power base.

The real wild card in this situation is violence. Fatah and Hamas have always had an on-again, off-again low level civil war in the Gaza Strip. If violence is ended or severely curbed than more recognition and power will come to the Palestinian Authority. If Fatah or Hamas resumes the conflict though the government will collapse and aid shipments will stop. It is hard to say what will happen.


sephi said...

I guess that until the PA and it's Prime Minister do not explicit recognize Israel there is not much hope in moving the peace process forward.

Anonymous said...

With the Saudis bringing pressure to bear on Hamas & Fatah, a resumption to civil hostilities could be a while away. I see no benefit for America NOT to follow Norway's example. We set up a trap for the extremists within Hamas in the public arena; if we give them the full aid and support, and they choose to sacrifice it by conducting terrorist activities against Israel, we have shown we've done our best and Hamas blew it. Currently, we just look hypocritical.