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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Opposites Attract

Sat, 07 Mar 2009 22:03:00 GMT | PressTV
By: Kian Mokhtari

Mahmoud Abbas (L),
Ismail Haniyah (R)
The Palestinian authority's Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has submitted his resignation. He is to step down at the end of March once the illusive Palestinian unity government is finally at hand.

Hamas and Fatah will be discussing their differences in Cairo this week with both parties aware that there is no margin for error.

The failure to kiss and make up can prove fatal in the current prevalent atmosphere in Israel's domestic politics.

So much backwarding and forwarding has happened in Ramallah, that no one can be quite sure whether the Palestinian authority's premier is a caretaker Premier or an elected politician.

Oh yes, Fayyad was appointed by the Palestinian Authority's President, Mahmoud Abbas in June 2007, to get back at Hamas for the expulsion of Fatah Party from Gaza. However, the democratically elected Palestinian government's premier is actually Hamas' Ismail Haniyah.

Don't ask!
Fayyad has not proven a wise choice despite his academic and professional credentials. His character is more suited to compromise and reconciliation toward Israeli politicians than compassion for his Palestinian Arab brothers; or at least that is the way things seem to the Palestinian public in the West Bank. Actually, Palestinian people accuse him of appeasement but we'll give him the benefit of the doubt here.

But then Abbas' authority is itself under serious doubt especially as his four-year presidential term actually expired back in January. The erosion of Abbas' authority has actually less to do with Hamas' challenge and is more about his failure to reach a peace deal with Israel and his impotence to lend support to Gaza during Israel's 22-day onslaught against the tiny overcrowded strip.

Still, the two sides are optimistic about a unity government deal; not least because Hamas needs cash to rebuild Gaza and Abbas needs democratic moral ascent to justify his Presidency.
And this is about the worst eventuality for the Palestinian nation anyone could have ever imagined given the present circumstances: a confidential report by the European Union says Israel is pursuing the illegal annexation of East Jerusalem.

Mahmoud Abbas has just realized -like many Arab leaders before him- that he has been played 'to the max' by Israel. Abbas now knows that if Palestinians recognize Israel they'd have removed the last obstacle to Israeli take over of what is left of the rest of Palestine.

Abbas has also finally wised up to another reality: that without a Palestinian State his nation will never be able to get justice from international bodies.
Palestine's recent appeal to bring to book Israeli officials responsible for the Gaza war crimes fell on deaf ears because the ICC says it can only process applications from internationally recognized states and Palestine, despite its sixty-year old struggle, has not achieved nationhood.

Hamas on the other hand has learnt a little lesson in humility and tolerance. Hamas is now aware that tolerating undercooked political maneuvers by a misled Palestinian President is far more beneficial than enduring isolation and mass slaughter at the hands of its enemy.

Hamas and Fatah's convergence will not in any way guarantee success but they will at least have a credible fighting chance; which is much, much more than either party has possessed throughout their claws-out trial separation.

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