WASHINGTON, Aug 24—The widening division between Fatah and Hamas threatens any chance for a diplomatic breakthrough on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Neither Palestinian faction is moving closer to reconciliation with or capitulation to the other side, concludes a new commentary from Nathan J. Brown.
Security and economic gains in the West Bank are temporary and unsustainable—and unlikely to inspire a broader Palestinian rejection of Hamas. Recent championing of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s efficient governance style as a new model for democracy in the region ignores the inherent shortcomings of governing only half of the Palestinian Authority.
- Fayyad’s achievements are dependent on massive international assistance and an unpopular crackdown on Hamas, which has further aggravated the discord within Palestine.
- Fatah leaders have no plan to move past the current stalemate and are focused on outmaneuvering each other.
- Hamas leaders have transformed their movement into a party-state after seizing Gaza in 2007, but have failed to articulate any strategy to expand beyond their entrenchment there and govern a united Palestine.
- Hamas is starting to resemble Fatah in the 1990s, a party that systemically captures a weak proto-state. But it has managed to avoid so far the extreme disarray and corruption that beset Fatah.
- The United States has locked itself in a policy of sanctions against Hamas that are unlikely to produce desired results.
“The grim reality is that the Palestinians now have two political systems that are lurching farther away from each other, and neither one seems to have a viable strategy for realizing its vision or building a better future for the people it purports to lead.”
- Direct link to the PDF: www.carnegieendowment.org/files/palestine_schism1.pdf
- Nathan J. Brown is a professor of political science and international affairs at the George Washington University, a nonresident senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment, and a distinguished scholar and author of four well-received books on Arab politics.
- The Carnegie Middle East Program combines in-depth local knowledge with incisive comparative analysis to examine economic, socio-political, and strategic interests in the Arab world to provide analysis and recommendations in both English and Arabic that are deeply informed by knowledge and views from the region.
- The Carnegie Middle East Center based in Beirut, Lebanon, aims to better inform the process of political change in the Middle East.
- Carnegie's Arab Reform Bulletin offers a monthly analysis of political and economic developments in Arab countries.
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