Two weeks after the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation deal, the PA agrees to transfer 3,000 security forces to Gaza.
It’s a homecoming of sorts. Almost seven years after the terrorist organization Hamas violently ousted Fatah, the political party that rules the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian media reported on Sunday that 3,000 Palestinian Authority police officers will join the Gaza government’s security forces.
Two weeks ago, the two rival Palestinian groups agreed to form a unity government within five weeks and hold a national election after six months.
However, the Hamas Fatah reconciliation already looks tenuous given the political factions’ long history of enmity, as well as very different ideologies vis-à-vis Israel.
Can a Hamas-Fatah Reconciliation Survive?
Despite the recent unity deal, Hamas recently stated that it will not disarm its military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades. A Hamas official also negated any possibility that the Qassam Brigades would merge with the Palestinian Authority’s security forces.
“Dissolving the Qassam Brigades is out of the question, and those asking for that are dreaming. The Hamas Fatah reconciliation will not be at the expense of the military wings of the resistance, which represent the national army of the state of Palestine. Handing over Qassam weapons is impossible and nonnegotiable,” a Hamas official told the Al-Monitor news website.
Another sticking point in the Hamas Fatah reconciliation is the Hamas group’s continued refusal to recognize Israel. Last week, a number of Hamas officials rushed to clarify their movement’s rejection of Israel following indications by PA leaders that Hamas would abide by previously signed agreements.
The fundamentalist Hamas organization refuses to renounce using force against Israel and is classified as a terrorist organization by, among others, the United States and the European Union, due to its many attacks against Israeli civilians.
In contrast, the secular Western-backed Fatah seeks to iron out a deal with the Israeli government that will lead to the creation of a Palestinian state in Gaza, Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.
Since Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007, numerous Hamas Fatah reconciliation attempts have been made. Despite a number of agreements, those attempts have not been successful.
On April 23, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh announced they had agreed to a Hamas Fatah reconciliation. As a result, the peace talks between Israel and the PA collapsed, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying that the talks are “essentially buried” if Abbas follows through with his commitment to reconcile with Hamas.
Written by Gidon Ben-Zvi
Staff Writer, United with Israel