Date: 26/10/2020 Time: 12:37
Pinhas Inbari – Veteran Arab affairs correspondent and analyst for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
At the background of the internal turmoil in Israel, there is a process of “reconciliation” between Fatah and Hamas.
If we define it as a “Fatah Hamas reconciliation” – it has no importance. There is nothing to discuss about it any further because all kinds of reconciliations have been already signed and what is left is only to implement them. For many good reasons, they are not implemented, and nothing is changed in the bilateral level of Fatah and Hamas to let us believe that anything is changed.
And indeed, as far as we learned from our sources in Ramallah the talks did not enter the practical level and beyond an understanding that elections should run in the PA, nothing else is agreed. In other words- they agreed on a statement to the press but not a political decision on the ground.
Hence, as long as we try to understand it from the pure Palestinian angle—nothing happens, but if we try to understand it from the larger perspective of the Middle Eastern conflicts – plenty happens, and this is the correct perspective to examine it.
We must pay attention that the parties that negotiate the reconciliation Rajub on the side of Fatah and Aruri, Mash’al and Haniyya, from the Hamas side, belong, both parties, to the Qatari sphere of influence. So, we must refine our definition- it is the Qatari Fatah and Hamas that negotiate – not Hamas as Hamas and nor Fatah as Fatah. On the Fatah side, we must notice that the formal responsible on the reconciliation file, Azzam al-Ahmad, is cut out of the frame and on the Hamas side – Gaza is absent.
Both Gaza and Azzam al-Ahmad do not take the Qatari-inspired process easily. In Ramallah, it was reported that Azzam’s bodyguards attacked Rajub’s personnel in the Muqata’a and in Gaza, the focus is put now on accelerating the regularization process with Israel under Egyptian auspices.
When I asked my Ramallah sources what is the issue that is discussed in the reconciliation talks in Istanbul – I got a surprising reply – Dahlan… possible cooperation against the main threat to Abu Mazen’s hold on power currently. The PA in Ramallah is running a crashing campaign against Dahlan’s followers, but Gaza does not follow and there is no anti-Dahlan campaign in Gaza. So, whatever Aruri Mash’al and the like may agree about Dahlan, Gaza will not comply.
To the contrary, Haniyya explained in an interview that the only band of former agreements, “the social issues” were implemented- not by the PA in Ramallah, but by Dahlan. What are the “social issues”? —they are the compensations for the bereaved families that lost their loved ones in the clashes between Fatah and Hamas during the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007. So, after this is done there are no issues between Hamas and Dahlan.
This makes a better focus on the Rajub-Aruri talks. It is not about “reconciliation” but about posting the Qatari/Turkish candidates for the days post-Abu Mazen to block Dahlan in the West Bank and Hamas is not ready to implement this in Gaza.
So, this is about getting the Palestinians in the West Bank accustomed to the notion that the Turkish/Qatari Hamas is eligible when the time comes- not now. It is part of the wide conflicts in the Middle East between the Gulf, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt on the one hand, that want to promote Dahlan, Qatar-Turkey alliance on the other hand that wants to promote the Hamas wing that is under their auspices. Rajub in this case is only the gate to achieve it.