Does the Hamas-Fatah rivalry serve Israel and weaken the Palestinian cause?

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WEST BANK, PALESTINOW.COM – A splintered Palestinian resistance allows Israel to manage its occupational forces on Palestinian territories and continue annexing more Arab lands.

Palestinians have been fighting for statehood for several decades at the cost of immense human suffering. Over the years, two major political forces emerged from the contested region: Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Read also: Will the ICC’s Investigation into Israeli War Crimes Finally Bring Justice to Palestine?

Though the two groups have a common goal of reclaiming the pre-1967 Palestinian borders and ending Israel’s occupation of its territories, rigid ideological differences between the two sides almost always distracted them from pursuing their common agenda against Israel.

Experts on Israel-Palestine conflict say the main beneficiary of the Hamas-Fatah rivalry has been Tel Aviv.

“According to Israel, a divided Palestine can be controlled easily,” Selim Han Yeniacun, an author of two books on Palestine-Israel conflict, told TRT World.

“As Netanyahu desires to take control of the West Bank, he keeps bombing Gaza Strip prior to each political maneuver he wants to take. He doesn’t consider Hamas and Fatah as his counterparts since the two sides always disagree with each other. So he does the political talking with other Arab states.”

Yeniacun said that since World War I, Palestine has been an equation with multiple variables, and the “legitimacy problem of the Palestinian politics” has been “one of the most important subheadings” in recent decades.

“Palestinian politics relies on several balances both internally and externally in terms of the struggle for existence, however, indecisive structure in Palestine has been causing infirmity on the Palestinian cause. As the country was at polls in 2006 for the last time, both Fatah and Hamas are responsible for the loss of legitimacy,” Yeniacun, who’s also a research assistant at Shanghai University, said.

Since Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has been repeatedly saying “the elections can not take place without voting in Jerusalem”, Yeniacun said Abbas tries to protect his power and Fatah administration in West Bank.

Hamas entered politics in Palestine in 2005 and engaged in local elections, then won parliamentary elections in 2006 defeating Fatah. Since then, political and ideological rifts between the two sides have worsened, allowing Israel to manage the conflict according to its harsh, occupational policies.

Israel has launched three wars against Hamas and the Gaza Strip. Following Hamas’ victory in elections, Israel imposed an airtight blockade. Thousands of civilians in Gaza have been killed, including children.

Following Hamas’ release of the political document in 2017, the objectives of the two sides were the same as both aimed to create a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.

Recently, almost two months ago, Fatah and Hamas agreed to hold elections. The Palestinian Authority welcomed Hamas’ decision to participate in all elections despite many hopes that the move would be a significant step that could help end years of strife between two parties, Palestinian PM Mohammed Shtayyeh of Fatah believes that there are many obstacles to restore the democratic practice.

Shtayyeh said: “We are keen to have elections. We have two impediments about elections. Two problems. One is that we need Hamas to agree so that Gaza will be part of it. Second we need Israel to agree so that Jerusalem is part of it,”.

The attempts of peacemaking and holding new elections have failed several times, increasing the wedge among Palestinians divided along two political factions.

Source: TRT

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