Amira Hass on how Hamas and Fatah have effectively bought into and become invested in Israel’s strategy for preempting Palestinian self-determination:
Both rival ruling movements were manoeuvred into becoming part of a geopolitical reality that Israel has been shaping relentlessly since 1991: the enclaves reality, aka the Bantustans – in short, the deliberate torpedoing of the two-state solution. The internal Palestinian disagreements are natural. But the political bifurcation and creation of a dual, crippled self-government is a logical result of the disconnect imposed by Israel.
The reconciliation is not working because Abbas continues to hope, as he hoped in 2007, that Hamas as a mass movement will dissolve under pressure – Israeli, global, Egyptian. Hamas has reservations about reconciliation because the implication is that it will have to share governing of Gaza with Fatah, but not in the West Bank where Israel will not allow Hamas an overt political presence.
The enclaves are developing a logic of their own, and their leaderships and inhabitants are growing accustomed to a certain status quo in which dramatic changes frighten them – because, experience tells, such changes are only for the worse. The self-government that Hamas and Fatah are maintaining under the aegis of the Israeli occupation and dominance is nourished by promises of liberation and independence for the long term, which are mortgaged in favour of the short term and the immediate interests of each ruling stratum and its cronies.