How the Gaza attacks can blow Palestine recognition efforts

Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (R) speaks with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah at Haniyeh's house in Gaza City October 9, 2014.

Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (R) speaks with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah at Haniyeh’s house in Gaza City October 9, 2014.

Analysed By: Rajia Aboulkheir and Mustapha Ajbaili

The overnight bombing that targeted the homes of Fatah leaders in the Gaza Strip and which the movement blamed on Hamas threaten to tear up the Palestinian unity government and slow the international momentum for the recognition of Palestine, experts said.

Following a reconciliation deal in April the rival movements formed a unity government which was supposed to be in charge of affairs in both the West Bank and Gaza.

But Hamas, which has an iron grip on the Gaza Strip, appears to be hesitant to handover “state” affairs, including security services, to a new authority it does not trust.

The latest bombing, expert say, attest to Hamas’s unwillingness to surrender power to a shared Palestinian authority.

“The incident is likely to hamper the plans to form a unity government and cause the return of tensions between Fatah and Hamas,” Middle East expert Samir Saul told Al Arabiya News.

“The rise of tensions will come despite the growing efforts both parties are showing to end to divisions,” Saul added.

Hamas condemned the attack in a statement, saying Palestinian political factions should exercise caution in assigning blame.

Fatah says Hamas is responsible because it is the de-facto controlling power in the Gaza Strip.

“Some members of Hamas do not want to see the unity of Hamas and Fatah,” Azzam al-Ahmad, a Fatah leader and the head of the Palestinian delegation for the peace talks between Fatah and Hamas, told Al Arabiya News.

“They want the division between the two factions so Hamas can keep on exerting its power in the Gaza Strip,” al-Ahmad said.

The bombings also targeted a platform set up by Fatah members fir the commemoration of Yasser Arafat’s death on Nov. 11.

It is the first time in years that a public commemoration of Arafat’s death has been planned in Gaza.

The events forced Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and several other ministers cancel a planned visit to the enclave.

Chris Doyle, the director of the London-based Council for Arab-British Understanding, told Al Arabiya News the attacks against Fatah leaders in Gaza are likely to affect the unity government could slow down the international momentum building for the recognition of Palestine.

Doyle stressed however that the issue of recognition is much bigger that internal skirmishes between Palestinian factions.

“The serious upsurge in Fatah Hamas attacks will certainly slow down the momentum (of Palestinian recognition) … but it won’t be lost,” he said.

“At a broader level, I think the real issue is not really the recognition of Palestine. It is the damage to the unity government,” Doyle added.

“without a unity government then you allow the Israelis to have a get-out of jail free card, whereby in the event of any negotiations in the future they will still get back to the situation of: ‘you don’t control all of your territories President Abbas; how can we do a full final deal with you,’” Doyle said.

In the same vein, Professor Saul, of University of Montreal, said the attacks against Fatah in Gaza were an “opportunity” for Israel to break up the unity government.

He said reconciliation between Islamist Hamas and the more secular-oriented Fatah puts pressure on Israel on make peace with the Palestinian.



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