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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The question of Gaza

According to Khaled Abu Toameh,  Analysis: Abbas won't be able to impose any deal on Gaza. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that problem, which was studiously avoided in the Annapolis happening. But Abu Toameh also tells us:

The Annapolis conference may have improved relations between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, but it has also deepened divisions among the Palestinians. The negotiations that are expected to take place after the Annapolis meeting will only aggravate the crisis on the Palestinian arena, making it harder for Abbas to even consider the possibility of returning to the Gaza Strip.

He claims that Israel expects any deal to hold for the Gaza strip as well as the West Bank, but the Palestinian Authority, obviously, doesn't control the Gaza strip and it can't. What Toameh forgot is that the Palestinians want a state, and they will want a state in BOTH Gaza and the West Bank. So the Palestinians ALSO expect that the deal will hold for both Gaza and the West Bank. Toameh asks:

How will Abbas be able to implement any agreement in the Gaza Strip when he hardly has control over the West Bank?

And he answers:

There are three ways for Abbas and his Fatah faction to regain control over the Gaza Strip.

One way is if the public there revolts against Hamas and overthrows the government of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. The second is if Hamas voluntarily relinquishes control over the Gaza Strip and invites Fatah back to power.

The third way is to remove Hamas from power by force - something that Abbas's security forces and Fatah loyalists don't seem to be capable of doing, at least not in the short term.


But there is a fourth way, at least in theory.  Every poll shows that Fatah would win elections in Gaza today. If the West Bank prospers because of the peace deal, and Hamas continues to be Hamas, this sentiment will grow even stronger. If a peace deal is reached, the pressure to hold such elections will be enormous.

The catch is that the peace deal would have to be so good that even the Hamas could not very well oppose it. That means that Abbas would have to get right of return and all of East Jerusalem,  and Israel is not going to give up on either issue. Perhaps Abbas can create a third issue which he can then show as an achievement, such as insistence on release of all prisoners.

Ami Isseroff


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


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