The Hamas-Fatah Reconciliation Agreement, still in its infancy, is already facing problems. What is the prognosis? Can it work?
The Hamas-Fatah Reconciliation Agreement, recently cooked up in Cairo, which would see the Palestinian Authority resume control of Gaza by December 1, has barely cooled, and already there are problems in paradise – in spite of the early celebrations of Gaza residents waving Egyptian, Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and Fatah flags, upon announcement of the deal. Just days after signing the agreement, Egypt canceled its planned opening of the Rafah border crossing, between Gaza and Sinai, a major incentive in the agreement, after another ISIS terror attack, that killed six Egyptian soldiers in Northern Sinai.
Egypt has kept the border crossing closed since October 2014, with a few exceptions for the passage of humanitarian aid. Egypt blames Hamas for a horrendous attack, that killed 30 Egyptian soldiers in 2014, by aiding ISIS terrorists in Sinai, through their weapons smuggling tunnels. Numerous attacks have occurred since, and Egypt continues to blame Hamas for the aid to the Sinai Islamists. And, it’s not lost on President el-Sisi, that Hamas was started by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Since the Sharm El-Sheikh meeting of 2005, which included the US, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority, it’s been rumored that there’s a proposal to bring Egyptian influence back into Gaza, and Jordanian influence back into Judea and Samaria. They are supposed to help the Palestinians reform their security services, democratize and stabilize society, so that the PA’s Abbas can govern, and ultimately negotiate with Israel. It seems that Trump is continuing to carry out that plan.
As I wrote a couple months ago, “The Trump administration is exploring new approaches for easing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that builds on talks with the budding Sunni Arab coalition of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan,” according to an unnamed US official.
The American strategy is to unite the Palestinian Authority (Fatah) and Hamas, under Abbas’ leadership, so that a united Palestinian bloc could renew negotiations with Israel. The Trump administration is using its connections with the Sunni Arab states to put pressure on all the Palestinian factions to join up. Hence, the Hamas–Fatah Reconciliation Agreement. The Americans, in return, have promised to deliver Israel to the negotiating table, when the Palestinians are ready. And to grease the squeaky wheel, the US is trying to bring Jerusalem and Ramallah together through joint economic initiatives.
Meanwhile, the Arab coalition has tried to push Hamas closer to Egypt and the UAE, and distance them from Qatar, which for years has been a major financial backer. Mohammed Dahlan, a former Fatah leader in Gaza, who has been living in the UAE, has been the key intermediary. He recently returned to Gaza and organized UAE-financed humanitarian aid there, said to include about $15 million a month in food and social assistance for families, plus additional money for electricity and water.
The plan is to provide economic and social support, through Egypt, with Israel’s blessing, that can weaken the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence. Israel has allowed fuel and other shipments to pass from Egypt through the border crossing at Rafiah, signaling it’s tacit support. Dahlan and the UAE have larger plans. Dahlan said the UAE has pledged to finance a $100 million electricity plant, to be built on the Egyptian side of the border, to help power Gaza. Therefore, the announced canceling of the Rafiah border opening by Egypt, presents a serious challenge to the plan.
Over the years, international peace plans, have seen “Palestine” as having a common border with Jordan, Egypt and a territorial link between Judea, Samaria (the West Bank/Fatahland) and Gaza/Hamastan.
We Know What Happened to East and West Pakistan…
If a Palestinian state is born, East and West Palestine (the West Bank/Fatahland and Gaza/Hamastan) will suffer a similar end. Or, do they intend to carve up Israel to gain territorial contiguity? Will Israel be reduced to a Northern and Southern Kingdom as in the Bible? Will Tel-Aviv and the Galilee – formerly the coastal and northern parts of Israel – become disconnected from the Negev, the newly formed Southern State?
Whatever they tell you, know this, states collapse, countries or areas of a country merge with other states, and some ethnic groups go extinct over time. East and West Palestine is just such a creature. It will be still-born at best, on long-term international life-support. But that won’t save it from the fate of East and West Pakistan. So, even if an illegitimate child-state is born, expect its early demise.
For starters, because there never was an independent Palestinian Arab state or shared identity. The closest thing they have to a shared identity, is hatred of Jews, the desire for statehood, and to use it to wipe out Israel. If they achieved statehood and actually lived peaceably with Israel for some time, their whole purpose of existence would end. History abhors a vacuum, and the so-called “Palestinian identity” would probably be subsumed in a greater Muslim identity; Hamas will work to ensure that. And, that will lead right back to conflict with Israel.
Beyond this, Jewish identity is stronger. Simply put – Israeliness not withstanding – Jewish identity, the connection to our ancient and modern homeland, will prevail over a sick child-state and its international doctor-backers. You know, I feel that the US, EU, and UN are about to play the role of Dr. Kevorkian (the suicide doctor). They’re about to help the “Palestinians” commit national suicide.
Why is this Fledgling State Doomed?
Because it won’t be a real democracy, in spite of a likely Jimmy Carter certification, as he did in 2006 when Hamas won parliamentary elections. My proof? Ask yourself, will Jews living in towns in Judea and Samaria be allowed to stay and be equal Palestinian citizens – including voting rights and electability to parliament – as Israeli Arabs are in Israel? No, they’re talking about ethnic cleansing, uprooting hundreds of thousands of Jewish “settlers”, making “Palestine” Judenrein –free of Jews. And a state born in such sin will never redeem itself. An independent Palestine might be described by some as a democracy, but, in fact, it will more closely resemble a Nazi state. Remember, Yasser Arafat’s uncle Haj Amin Al-Husseini, was Hitler’s friend.
Does anyone really believe that Abbas/Fatah will gain control over Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Hezbollah and ISIS elements in Gaza? He’s been having problems within his own Fatah movement. East and West Palestine will be a terror state, and its eventual end will gladden the hearts of millions around the world.
If born, this moral-AIDS-ridden terror state won’t be a democracy. Lacking democracy, freedom, prosperity and real control over their own lives, Arabs will continue to suffer deprivations at the hands of their corrupt leaders and be used – by the likes of Hamas – to attack Israel. Because it won’t integrate the different elements of Arab society into an organic whole, they will never overcome their deeper inner contradictions. As long as they have an external enemy, the Jews, they might hold off the internal feud, but for how long?
Hamastan vs. Fatahland
To give you an idea on how deep the divisions run, this latest Hamas – Fatah Reconciliation Agreement, is the 14th attempt at reconciliation since 2005.
In 2005, they signed the Cairo Declaration. In 2006 the Prisoners’ Document; in February 2007, the Mecca Agreement to form a national unity government; and March 2008, they signed the Sana’a Declaration. They held talks in 2009 and again in 2010. In May 2011, they signed the Cairo agreement, to form a joint caretaker government, with presidential and legislative elections to be held in 2012. The February 2012 Doha agreement, and the May 2012 Cairo accord, were a further push to implement the 2011 Cairo agreement. They held more talks in January 2013, following the upgrade of “Palestine” at the UN. Then signed the 2014 Gaza and Cairo Agreements, followed by more talks about reconciliation in 2016.
East and West Palestine, or Hamastan vs. Fatahland, won’t last because they aren’t the same societies.
Gaza is medieval, insular, Islamic, poverty-stricken, overcrowded and, in just plain language, “a hell hole.” It has no culture beyond terrorism, and no real chance of commerce or serious relations with Egypt, its neighbor to the west. They’ll be under Egyptian “occupation.” After Sharon’s “disengagement” plan and the Hamas takeover, being cut-off from Israel – which got tired of being attacked by them – the Gazans grew closer to the Bedouin of the Sinai.
The “West Bank or Fatahland,” by contrast, is more cosmopolitan. Although overwhelmingly Muslim, there is a significant minority of Christians. It has the potential to be more secular, more democratic, and more tolerant. Trade and cultural relations with Jordan exist and will continue to flourish.
East and West Palestine will suffer from uneven development. If the child-state is born, and democracy does “rear its ugly head” with its tolerance and pluralism, Western movies, music, gambling casinos and bars; you can count on the Ayatollahs and sheikhs of Gaza-Hamastan to rant and rave against “the infidels” in East Palestine, i.e. the West Bank-Fatahland.
I firmly believe that an independent Palestinian State will suffer the same outcome as East and West Pakistan.
For those of you who don’t remember, East and West Pakistan fought a bloody civil war in 1971, and the outcome was Bangladesh, an independent state. Although both parts of Pakistan were Muslim – the only reason for its separation from India in 1947 in the first place – cultural and ethnic differences led to serious animosity between the two sides.
Yet, developmental inequality is what pushed the final button. East Pakistan was an economic basket case (as it continues to be today). “Blessed” by being at the convergence point of several natural phenomena, the southern third of East Pakistan/Bangladesh sits on the mouth of the Ganges River, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal. Never short of water, they regularly suffer from floods from the Ganges overflow and yearly monsoons (hurricanes).
Prognosis for ‘Palestine’
A former International Relations professor of mine – originally from Thailand – once commented that Bangladesh is situated in one of the harshest inhabited areas of the world. “Why would people want to live there?” he asked. “It would do the international community good to simply move the entire population out of there. It would save a lot of lives, money and time in disaster relief efforts.”
East Pakistan – the more populous area – for years complained that they weren’t getting their fair share of central government budgets. After a period of military rule, in December 1970, the East Pakistani Awami League won absolute control over the newly formed parliament. With the Awami League set to control the government and demanding autonomy for East Pakistan in a federated state, General Yahya – junta leader from West Pakistan – chose to disband the assembly and invaded the East. Civil war broke out and, after a half-million Bengalis (East Pakistanis) were massacred, India invaded to establish order. Ultimately India recognized Bangladeshi independence and so did the international community. But India continues to suffer until today from the Muslim fanatics of Pakistan.
Is that the prognosis for East and West Palestine? Will Gaza scream foul? Is a civil war or societal degeneration in the offing for the unborn child-state, or would a partial-birth abortion better serve the international community?
The world should think seriously about the viability – or not – of a territorially divided Palestinian state. Show me a successful model, anywhere in the world, of an independent country divided in two parts by another state. Or, will there be continuous warfare between Israel and Palestine to foster unity between the Arabs and to gain contiguity?
An Experiment Doomed to Failure from the Start
Like my former professor’s advice about Bangladesh, I suggest about East and West Palestine that, “it would do the international community good to simply move the entire population out of there. It would save a lot of lives, money and time…”
Few things in life are certain, but these two are worth betting on. First, that East and West Palestine won’t survive long if born, and second, that the territorial integrity of the Land of Israel will. The Jewish people didn’t survive 2,000 years of dispersal and persecution just to return to their homeland, gain independence, and then give it away to 7th century Arab imperialists and early 20th century Arab squatters.