Throwing Hamas a lifeline

Let us make no bones about it: Hamas is a fascist organisation which mourned the death of Osama bin Laden as an Arab “holy warrior”.

A Hamas rally in Bethlehem
Jacob Campbell
On 11 May 2011 15:31

By all accounts, the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation deal took the world completely by surprise. At a moment when support for Hamas among the Palestinians is at an all-time low, and as Syria - its principal patron state - convulses under the pressure of internal unrest and external sanctions, it hardly seems an opportune moment for Fatah to jump into bed with its erstwhile nemesis. So why has it?

The answer lies back in January, when Al-Jazeera leaked thousands of pages of diplomatic correspondence between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators. Outrage erupted on the streets of the West Bank as an indignant Palestinian population learned of the concessions their leaders were prepared to make for the sake of an independent State of Palestine. After decades of fomenting hatred against Israel in order to legitimise its own authoritarian rule, the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority was beginning to reap what it had sown.

Knowing that there could be no settlement arrived at through bilateral talks that would not involve concessions on the Palestinian side, Fatah changed tack. If the Israelis would not give the Palestinian people everything they wanted -- a Palestinian state within the indefensible 1949 armistice lines with East Jerusalem as its capital -- then statehood would have to be achieved through other means. Cue reconciliation.

By adopting a semblance of unity with Hamas, Fatah has killed two birds with one stone. On the one hand it signals to the world that the PA has regained full control over the Palestinian territories, and on the other it has made further negotiations with Israel impossible. Since Israel will not countenance talks with an entity whose raison d'être is genocide, Mahmoud Abbas can pretend he has no option but to break with the Oslo Accords and seek independence unilaterally at the United Nations, which is what the Palestinians want to do in September.

All this talk of "reconciliation" and "unity" is therefore nothing but idealistic guff designed to mask what is essentially a marriage of convenience. But it comes at a heavy cost, and Abbas and his Fatah party are all too shamefully aware that they are making a pact with the devil.

Let us make no bones about it: Hamas is a fascist organisation which mourned the death of Osama bin Laden as an Arab “holy warrior”.

It also rules Gaza with an iron fist. In the midst of the Arab Spring, as ordinary people rise up against their oppressors, Hamas has good reason to be worried. Recent polls suggest that as little as 28 percent of Gazans have a positive view of the regime. The squalid little enclave was ripe for revolution.

Instead, on Fatah's initiative, Hamas has wormed its way back into the patronage of the international community. It now has legitimacy, finances and a foothold on the West Bank. This is bad news for Israelis, bad news for Palestinians, and bad news for peace.

Jacob Campbell is Press Officer for UKIP Friends of Israel. Visit for more information, or follow @UKIPFOI on Twitter

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