The Hamas-Fatah Love Affair: What It Means for Israel

Love is reportedly in the air between Hamas and Fatah, but as with most Middle Eastern affairs, there is more here than meets the eye.

By: Daniel Krygier, Political Analyst, World Israel News

The Islamist terror group Hamas has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007 and does not intend to give up power voluntarily to Fatah or anyone else. However, the Hamas regime is under increased pressure from wide segments of Gaza’s population, who are dissatisfied with daily life in the coastal enclave. While Israel and the Jews remain hated, Gazans are increasingly more concerned about their daily lives.

Like Fatah, Hamas’ leaders are more interested in maintaining their luxury lifestyle than improving the lives of ordinary people. Hamas has invested far more in terrorism against Israel than in improving the lives of ordinary Gazans. Severe mismanagement and an increasingly fanatical Islamic regime has resulted in a dramatic decrease in the support for Hamas among Gazans. By striking a formal deal with Fatah, Hamas hopes to strengthen its military power in Gaza by outsourcing the responsibility of the daily lives of Gazans to Ramallah.

By joining a unity government, the Gaza-based terror group hopes to fill its coffers with more international aid. Hamas has no intention to disarm, as Fatah demands. The Islamic regime in Gaza will likely continue to remain the real power in Gaza and will continue investing in its vast subterranean terror infrastructure.

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Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas struggles with the dilemma of being far more popular in the West than just outside his Ramallah office. Challenged by younger, power-hungry Fatah leaders – and disliked by much of the Arab population in Judea and Samaria – Abbas hopes that the unity deal with Hamas will strengthen his fragile position.

There is a striking similarity between the Hamas-Fatah deal and the deal between Hezbollah and Lebanon’s weak government led by Prime Minister Saad Hariri. While acting in the shadows, Hezbollah is the real power in Lebanon and benefits from Western support for the Hariri regime. Hamas hopes to achieve a similar situation in Gaza and possibly also in Judea and Samaria.

What does this mean for Israel? The Jewish state has argued that agreements between Jerusalem and Ramallah are meaningless, since Abbas does not represent the Arab population in Gaza. While the EU and the UN cannot be accused of being pro-Israel, they have accepted this argument in their own way and repeatedly pushed for a unity deal between Hamas and Fatah. Past reconciliation attempts have failed, but this deal may prove different due to a lack of alternatives for the rival factions. If the deal between Hamas and Fatah holds, the EU and other international players will likely increase the pressure on Israel to resume “peace” negotiations with a Fatah-Hamas regime.

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The master of doublespeak, Mahmoud Abbas, has tried to impress the West by demanding that Hamas ministers recognize Israel. In practice, EU’s unconditional support for Abbas shows that Brussels tolerates anti-Israel incitement, as long as it is restricted to Arabic and kept away from the European public eye.

Hamas chief negotiator Saleh al-Arouri did not conceal Hamas’ genocidal intentions towards the Jewish state and said that the purpose of the deal was that Ramallah and Gaza should “work together against the Zionist enterprise.”

Israel will have to continue defending its vital national interests by exposing the hoax and reminding the international community that you cannot make peace with someone who wants you to rest in peace.