Analysis: Palestinian unity gov’t leaves explosive issues hanging in the air

By KHALED ABU TOAMEH, JPOST

The announcement of the new Hamas-Fatah unity government in Ramallah on Monday leaves many unanswered questions.

The most important question is how will the government be able to prepare or hold presidential and legislative elections in light of Israel’s decision to prevent Hamas from participating in the vote in the West Bank.

And who can guarantee that Hamas would not win the elections when and if they are held? Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced shortly after the government was sworn in that its main task would be to pave the way for elections within six months.

Abbas said late this week he would instruct the Palestinian Central Elections Commission to start preparing for the elections. The last presidential elections were held in January 2005. A year later, the Palestinians held parliamentary elections that resulted in Hamas’s victory.

A senior Palestinian official said the PA would appeal to the international community to exert pressure on Israel to allow the elections to take place at the end of this year.

The official pointed out that neither Israel nor the US had objected to Hamas’s participation in the January 2006 election.

Besides the issue of elections, it was not clear on Monday whether Hamas would relinquish control over the Gaza Strip in the wake of the unity government’s inauguration.

Hamas leaders have stressed over the past few days that the formation of the unity government does not mean their movement would dismantle its military wing or abandon the armed struggle against Israel.

Palestinian officials in Ramallah said they had no answer as to what would happen to Hamas’s armed wing and police force following the formation of the unity government.

Moreover, no one in Ramallah seemed to have a clear answer regarding the fate of tens of thousands of Hamas employees in the Gaza Strip.

On the one hand, it’s hard to believe that the Hamas soldiers would ever agree to become part of the PA security forces, which conduct security coordination with Israel.

Israel, for its part, won’t allow Hamas combatants and security officers to enter the West Bank.

It’s also unrealistic to believe that PA leadership would rush to add tens of thousands of Hamas employees to its payroll, especially in wake of the economic hardships facing the government.

On the other hand, those who think Hamas would allow Fatah-dominated security forces to return to the Gaza Strip as a result of the April 23 reconciliation pact are living in an illusion.

For now, both Hamas and Fatah prefer to avoid answering questions that could spoil the euphoria over the “historic” decision to end their differences.

The two parties are aware that these are explosive issues that could lead to the collapse of the reconciliation deal.

Then there’s the issue of the peace process. How will Hamas react when and if Abbas reaches a peace agreement with Israel? Too many questions have been left hanging in the air following the inauguration of the unity government.

But what is sure is that the Palestinians have taken the first step toward endorsing the Lebanon model of a “state within a state.”

Like Hezbollah, Hamas will continue to have its own security and civilian infrastructure even after a Palestinian state is established.

After all, the unity government does not mean that Hamas is on its way to vanishing.

On the contrary, the reconciliation deal has turned Hamas into a legitimate partner and player in the Palestinian arena.

 

June 3, 2014 | 32 Comments »

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  1. @ bernard ross:

    Which Prime Minister Built the Most Homes in the Settlements?

    SURPRISE!

    Which PM Built The Most Homes In the Settlements:

    Rhetoric aside, real data can answer the question as to who built the most in the Settlements.

    Who Built the Most and When?** Rank Prime Minister Party Years Construction
    1 Ehud Barak Labor 1999-2001 4,292
    2 Benjamin Netanyahu Likud 1996-1999 3,194
    3 Shimon Peres Labor 1995-1996 2,443
    4 Ariel Sharon* Likud 2001-2006 1,826
    5 Ehud Olmert Kadima 2006-2009 1,741
    6 Benjamin Netanyahu Likud 2009-2012 1,168

    Based on information collected by Peace Now, below are the number of government tenders for new settlement housing that were issued, by year for the past decade. We then correlated that information according to who was Prime Minister at the time.

    Who issued the most Housing Construction Tenders? Year Prime Minister Party Tenders:

    Subtotal
    Ariel Sharon 5293
    Ehud Olmert 1523
    2009 Benjamin Netanyahu Likud 0
    2010 Benjamin Netanyahu Likud 0

    2011 Benjamin Netanyahu Likud 1009
    2012 Benjamin Netanyahu Likud 660
    TOTAL: Benjamin Netanyahu 1669
    Rhetoric aside, real data can answer the question as to who built the most in the Settlements.

  2. bernard ross Said:

    I was discussing the GOI position and behavior NOT the private sector. In fact you are strengthening my argument. The GOI obstructs settlement outside of the major settlement blocks by NOT sponsoring it.

    Sharon made a deal with Bush that no expansion of new settlements would be allowed for a letter of recognition that in the end existing blocks would remain in Israels hands with American support of that position. Olmert and BB have not violated that agreement at least openly. Natural growth within the blocks was a given. BB has even caved on that principle.

    Much of the hype that I “have bought into” has originated from you. I have in fact bought into the idea that BB is not the pro zionist, pro settler he claims to be based upon considering many of your prior assertions. The possibility of major deception by “respected” Israeli leadership as a factor in my analysis has arisen primarily from this forum with you as a major source.
    Have you changed your mind?

    No not changed my mind BB will not buck Obama openly.
    Shocking: Zero East Jerusalem Housing Starts in 2013, Only 43 in 2012
    Prime Minister Netanyahu is functioning as an agent of U.S. foreign policy and Palestinian expansion.

    Israel Bows to PA and EU Threat, Stops Building in ‘East’ Jerusalem
    Threats work again on Bibi. Israel has not started to build one single home in “East” Jerusalem for Jews this year after a joint Palestinian Authority-EU threat to sue Israel in international court.

    Obama Pressing Netanyahu as Government Split on 2-State Solution
    Israel must agree to give up East Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Golan before the talks have begun.

  3. yamit82 Said:

    Most of the newbuild in Y&S are not government sponsored building but from private individuals. The government may or may not approve the buildings but they are mostly built anyways but not with housing ministry loans and mortgages… You need to see the overall growth in housing in every settlement not just government sponsored and authorized tenders. That’s the red herring.

    I was discussing the GOI position and behavior NOT the private sector. In fact you are strengthening my argument. The GOI obstructs settlement outside of the major settlement blocks by NOT sponsoring it. It also obstructs Jewish settlement by NEVER disputing the libel and canard of illegal and illegitimate Jewish settlement in YS. If UK were doing this, as it was, in its position as the Mandate everyone would claim criminal fraud of a trustee but when the actual successor representative assumes the role then the swindle of the Jews by their reps becomes acceptable. This is absurd when one considers that the internationally accepted legal basis for the legitimacy of the state of Israel is the LEGITIMACY AND LEGALITY OF JEWISH SETTLEMENT IN YS.

    You did not appear to disagree with my comment that BB and the GOI use the announcement of 1800 homes as a red herring to claim “strong zionist reaction” when in fact there are only 38 houses which are outside the major blocks to be retained. This is not an under the table support of zionism but rather an attempt at deceiving the public by claiming to be pro zionism and pro settlement. Why hide the 38 units and pretend it is 1800? You yourself have often claimed that BB’s announcements are fake.

    There are many extra government funds endowed and available for new setlers and if you look at the growth in settlement populations you will understand that the government housing tenders make up a small part of the actual growth.

    Are the majority of these funds outside the major blocks that will help secure the vacant YS for Zionism?

    You have bought into the hype and not the real facts on the ground. Then the real facts intentionally are not discussed in public forums.

    Much of the hype that I “have bought into” has originated from you. I have in fact bought into the idea that BB is not the pro zionist, pro settler he claims to be based upon considering many of your prior assertions. The possibility of major deception by “respected” Israeli leadership as a factor in my analysis has arisen primarily from this forum with you as a major source.
    Have you changed your mind?

  4. yamit82 Said:

    bernard ross Said:

    or is it just for shavuot?
    YAMIT SAID:
    Smell of coming elections Lieberman has moved to the left of BB and Bennett to the right . BB is now trying to solidify his base….

    So I take it you are saying it IS just for Shavuot and not permanent?

  5. bernard ross Said:

    a red herring? I understand only 38 units are outside the major blocks to be retained and yet this is presented as a strong zionist reaction. to me this indicates that BB is dealing in illusions and his agenda is not what he appears to be to his supporters.yamit82 Said:

    Most of the newbuild in Y&S are not government sponsored building but from private individuals. The government may or may not approve the buildings but they are mostly built anyways butnot with housing ministry loans and mortgages… You need to see the overall growth in housing in every settlement not just government sponsoredand authorized tenders. That’s the red herring. That’s why there is not more noise and opposition from the Likud rank and file, Bennett and the communities in Y&S themselves. Every communityhas a long term master plan and defined community boundries. All have master plans for their community expansions and the communities and their municipal councils are empowered to approve building expansions. The are many extra government funds endowed and available for new setlers and if you look at the growth in settlement populations you will understand that the government housing tenders make up a small part of the actual growth. You have bought into the hype and not the real facts on the ground. Then the real facts intentionally are not discussed in public forums.

  6. bernard ross Said:

    or is it just for shavuot?

    Smell of coming elections Lieberman has moved to the left of BB and Bennett to the right . BB is now trying to solidify his base…. Livni on her way out and if Lappid bolts it’s elections. I figure elections by December. Obama is partly behind the move of get rid of BB just as Clinton did.

    BB should do everything to show he is a right winger again.

    In Israel it’s all or mostly local politics that is determinative.

  7. yamit82 Said:

    Israel approves 1,800 more West Bank homes

    a red herring? I understand only 38 units are outside the major blocks to be retained and yet this is presented as a strong zionist reaction. to me this indicates that BB is dealing in illusions and his agenda is not what he appears to be to his supporters.yamit82 Said:

    U.S. officials and members of Hamas have been meeting in Jordan, Egypt, and Qatar, sources say. I don’t think BB was in on this and if Israeli Intel did not know it means we are slipping which is a cause for concern.

    I disagree. I think Israel is in on it since before “Pillars”. If you consider the possibility that Israel is in on the unity gov then we can predict that BB will in the future return to talks with the new situation.
    yamit82 Said:

    He is so stupid that that is what will build BB up at home and he will become a right wing darling again. Watch his popularity rise in proportion to Obama’s transparent pressure on Israel.

    The big question is what will BB do when he is made “popular” again? Will he now be more right wing or will he use that popularity to push through the withdrawal agenda?
    Obama did the same with Sis and I predict Obama will soon be moving back to supporting sisi.

    I think the players understand that the appearance of polarization and conflict helps build back popularity for those with weak credentials and weak support. When BB’s right wing credentials are re established through these current displays let’s see what he does: that will be the best indicator as to whether scripted or unscripted.

    Notice that all the players are currently rebuilding their image with their constituncies: BB(bennett, lapid, livni), Hamas, Abbas. they are all taking advantage of the hiatus to rebuild their support.

  8. yamit82 Said:

    I don’t know your time frame is to wide to be a rational explanation as Obama will be long gone and so will BB or are you saying it doesn’t matter?

    I think Obama is just another front, a stooge and that changing actors does not change a script. BB replaced Barak and olmert but has not abandoned the plan of disengagement, separation, unilateral withdrawal, annexation, blah blah blah…where the devil is always in the details
    yamit82 Said:

    hypothetically if you are correct you don’t explain rationally what’s in it for Israel???

    From my, and your, point of view….nothing. From BB and his handlers point of view: fame and fortune, overall resolution of conflict, GCC recognition,……he and liberman have already alluded to these. I think his point of view is that if the arabs are remaining then separation is necessary and it is a matter of keeping only the major blocks and security in the JV until a future time. Also, he probably sees cooperation with GCC on Iran.
    yamit82 Said:

    If as you surmise there is an agreed deal you haven’t explained why Israel should have accepted it, where is the quid pro quo?

    You are confusing my speculation as to what may be happening with the notion that I support it. Remember, I am for annexation and transfer. I cannot speak for those making deals but I believe they are arriving at understandings under the table. I believe that Israel is cautious in this regard waiting step by step to see what they get.
    yamit82 Said:

    Israel does not want AL-qaeda on her northern and southern borders nor do we want Hezbollah.. Assad is preferable of the 3.

    I think that Israel prefers GCC controlled jihadis but more importantly they prefer today rather than assads gov of yesterday. A weaker and even fragmented Syria. Fragmented enemies gfighting each other. Hexbullah spread thin over 2 countries and under attack from Sunnis. This is better than a strong Assad, I beleive Israel concluded this. However, they also do not want a strong gov of any sort in Syria.

    yamit82 Said:

    You have not injected the Russians in any of your conspiracies nor their influences and regional impact.

    in prior posts I have said that I beleive Israel has understandings with the russians re restraint in entering the jihadi war and that this restrains Israel entering fully on side of US and GCC. I beleive that this is why the US is really pissed and why the understandings may fail. I have said it depends on what the russians really want out of the syrian situation and also possible deals on gas with Russia. Israel is on a fence, being cautious trying to play both sides.

  9. “For the 2nd time this week, police are letting Jews onto the Temple Mount, while preventing Arabs from going up and harassing them.”

    Splendid. Now let’s remove the mosque.

  10. John Kerry Visits Hezbollah’s Lebanon, Sends Message to Israel
    Kerry’s friendly visit to Hezbollah dominated Lebanon was a message to Israel.
    http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/john-kerry-visits-hezbollahs-lebanon-sends-message-to-israel/2014/06/05/

    Kerry appears to have been sending a message to Israel, that just like the US can work with Lebanon, pretending that Hezbollah terrorists are not in charge, the US can also work with the PUG, also pretending that the Hamas terrorists are not in charge.

    Lebanon is in an official state of war with Israel.

  11. yamit82 Said:

    Jerusalem source: US is allowing PA to believe that agreement with terror organization is acceptable

    USA citizens are very pissed off. Obama didn’t expect this criticism and he is rocked. He is use to being lauded and praised. He’s nobodies Darlin now, Another C&W song.

  12. yamit82 Said:

    I believe Obama will do anything to remove BB and will ramp up as much pressure as he can to effect that outcome much as Clinton did in the late 90

    Obama has his ” ass in a crack ” over the “Bergdahl affair”, I think with his polls collapsing at home he has much effect elsewhere. Even the French are calling his bluff

    http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/ozymandias

  13. @ bernard ross:

    U.S. Funding for Hamas?

    U.S. Funding for Hamas?The State Department winks at the Palestinian merger with the terror group.June 4, 2014 4:17 p.m. ETThe 1988 Hamas Charter explicitly commits the Palestinian terror group to murdering Jews.

    Thanks to the formation this week of an interim government uniting Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which the U.S. supports to the tune of more than $400 million a year, the American taxpayer may soon become an indirect party to that enterprise.

    The State Department winks at the Palestinian merger with the terror group.

    Report: US held secret talks with Hamas – Israel News, Ynetnews.

  14. @ bernard ross:

    2 points.

    1- You are looking for rational explanations based on what you know and conjecture… You maybe correct, partially correct or not even close. I don’t know your time frame is to wide to be a rational explanation as Obama will be long gone and so will BB or are you saying it doesn’t matter?

    2- hypothetically if you are correct you don’t explain rationally what’s in it for Israel???

    3- I can speculate what a deal does for all the other parties but not for us…. If as you surmise there is an agreed deal you haven’t explained why Israel should have accepted it, where is the quid pro quo?

    Israel does not want AL-qaeda on her northern and southern borders nor do we want Hezbollah.. Assad is preferable of the 3.

    You have not injected the Russians in any of your conspiracies nor their influences and regional impact.

    Israel approves 1,800 more West Bank homes
    Announcement comes hours after government issued permits for 1,500 settlement units, in a move panned by the Palestinians
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-approves-tenders-for-1800-more-w-bank-homes/#ixzz33mzgmUAh

    Despite unity pact, Abbas forces arrest 10 Hamas activists
    PA cracks down on Islamist activists in Hebron ahead of ‘Naksa Day’ anti-Israel protests
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-activists-arrested-in-hebron-ahead-of-naksa-protest/#ixzz33n0xSZFU

    The U.S. Has Been Speaking To Hamas Through Back Channels For More Than Six Months

    U.S. officials and members of Hamas have been meeting in Jordan, Egypt, and Qatar, sources say.

    I don’t think BB was in on this and if Israeli Intel did not know it means we are slipping which is a cause for concern.

    I believe Obama will do anything to remove BB and will ramp up as much pressure as he can to effect that outcome much as Clinton did in the late 90’s.

    He is so stupid that that is what will build BB up at home and he will become a right wing darling again. Watch his popularity rise in proportion to Obama’s transparent pressure on Israel.

  15. yamit82 Said:

    The answer is that for President Obama, it was just business as usual…..not delegitimizing terrorists and fighting to win, but avoiding stirring up local resentments.

    I found this article you cite to be superficial in its analysis. for example,, it never mentioned the most important fact that Obama in Benghazi was clandestinely arming AQ in Syria in collaboration with the GCC. he was also training them in Jordan. Even the NYT noticed that fact.
    As for “avoiding stirring local resentments”….LOL. “arab spring” is almost synonymous with the Obama admin and I would venture it is his cornerstone clandestine agenda. Certainly it is in the forefront of stirring up resentments in egypt, Libya, Syria, etc.

    yamit82 Said:

    Why the rush [to recognize the Fatah- Hamas government]?

    This is a good and pertinent question? In my view, the events only appear logical when viewed as the scripted unfolding of a play, a drama.
    although the public view appears to be a victory for Hamas, I see it as the opposite. I see it as the obvious next step in a planned agenda going back to before the strange and aborted “pillar of defense”(which I also see as planned and agreed between Israel, egypt, US and GCC)
    since that time hamas has been leashed and bankrupted by Egypt and qatar. In my view the targeted assassinations pre pillar of defense were to decimate the Iranian links to gaza. I believe the same is true of the war against the “terrorists” of Sinai which I believe to be Iranian linked and funded as opposed to the GCC jihadis. This was started by an unenthusiastic Morsi but the US complained about his lack of success in the Sinai. He was believed to be playing games and not promulgating the plan. Egypt has now succeeded in bankrupting hamas and according to Meshal Qatar has now instructed hamas to enter a unity gov with(or under?) fatah. the GCC hold the purse and organize the overall agenda. I belive that hamas has been given what all arabs, and muslims, must always be given when they are the losers: the saving of face. I expect their rhetoric will be massive but their actions will be nil or almost nil. I believe the leash that was put on at the gaza cease fire has now been tightened.
    what is Israels situation? if we assume that everything is as on the surface then Israel has been incredibly lucky in that it appears to have been spared thus far attacks from AQ who surround Israel. However, if we believe there might be understandings then Israel is either part of the unfolding or at the least aware of it. I expect that although BB, like hamas, will appear to put up a fight, he will in the end accept this pre scripted outcome. Notice that the arab victories are all faux or immaterial with lots of noise about the “future”. One must look at this unity gov beneath the surface. Hamas failed because Egypt and their funders(GCC) have changed their agenda.
    In my view all sides recognize that a public peace deal will not be accepted by ANY of the “streets”, especially the pals. I believe the leaderships would make deals but cant. In fact, they are already in a deal but must appear to be moving somewhere to maintain their power. Hence, I see the future not as a managed conflict,, but rather as a managed script which takes small practical steps towards a 10 year outcome that is not admitted by the controllers(leaders). Basically the status quo will change slowly as the various streets become accommodated to the previous small changes from the last status quo. this is based on the GCC perspective on Iran which is always subject to change.
    It is an interesting exercise to speculate that most of what has gone on is understood and pre agreed. For me it keeps being the only scenario which makes sense and proceeds rationally. The basis is that there is agreement at the top but the streets take time to accept. Therefore, the slow unfolding of new “status quos” over a long time so that folks can get used to it. I think we can see the agreed details by evaluating actions and noticing slips of the tongue. EG 38 houses not in the major blocks presented as a strong zionist reaction to Unity gov OR BB saying that the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem will be retained and he will not divide the city OR the obvious obstruction of settlement outside the major blocks while pretending to be pro settlement.

  16. “It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.” (Sun Tzu, The Art of War)

  17. @ bernard ross:

    Benghazi, Bergdahl and Hamas

    Why the rush [to recognize the Fatah- Hamas government]? Why was the issue of legitimizing a terror organization, dedicated to the annihilation of one of our closest allies, not worth more than a few seconds thought?

    The answer is that for President Obama, it was just business as usual. His top priority is not delegitimizing terrorists and fighting to win, but avoiding stirring up local resentments. And Palestinians have made fabricating resentment for every imaginable affront into an art form. “A house is being built!” is a favorite, while Palestinian rocket-launchers and kidnappers and would-be suicide bombers are plying their wares.

  18. Palestinian analysts: Hamas ceded power to save face
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/palestinian-analysts-hamas-ceded-power-to-save-face/
    The U.S. Has Been Speaking To Hamas Through Back Channels For More Than Six Months
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/sheerafrenkel/the-us-has-been-speaking-to-hamas-through-backchannels-for-o
    Hamas’ Meshal held back channel talks with Shin Bet, says new book
    …in April 2006 and asked them, on Meshal’s behalf, whether Israel would agree to a strategic settlement in the wake of Hamas’ election triumph in January that year, the book says.
    The introduction to the document, entitled “Peaceful Coexistence,” says negotiations between Israel and Hamas will be conducted with mediators at first.
    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/hamas-meshal-held-back-channel-talks-with-shin-bet-says-new-book-1.427873

  19. “How will Hamas react when and if Abbas reaches a peace agreement with Israel?”

    They’ll celebrate by barbecuing a unicorn.

  20. Hamas will dominate The PA.
    Israel has got more important things to do these days than to invest any precious time trying to figure out what ‘The Palestinians’ ant farm is diging up this time. From experience we know, do we not that whatever it will be, must by definition be nefarious.
    The important development will occur in Iran. It had better be successful and soon, or else, all is lost. Israel’s credibility in the region is at stake. There is no room for error, Bibi.