A significant step towards bringing the main Palestinian political factions together for the first time since 2007 was announced on Sunday: 3,000 Palestinian policemen from the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority will merge into the security forces in Hamas-controlled Gaza, according to the Ma’an News Agency. This is in stark contrast to the bloody coup seven years ago, in which Hamas forces threw the Fatah members out of Gaza.
In fact, it’s more than just symbolic, because it represents a compromise on one of the toughest issues of disagreement: security. But don’t think that all is well, or that the terror group Hamas is giving up control of the weapons in Gaza.
Al Monitor issued a lengthy report in which Hamas sources emphasized that the military wing of Hamas—the members who carry out the policy of armed resistance (terrorism) against Israel—won’t be laying down their arms. In fact, the article finished by stating that it appears Hamas would choose retaining its arms over reconciliation with Fatah, if it came to that.
This would create even more issues for Fatah and its leader, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The United States considers Hamas to be a terrorist organization, and for good reason. Already, the reconciliation move with Hamas runs the risk of causing the Palestinian Authority to lose its funding from the Americans, since Hamas won’t recognize Israel or renounce violence.
And with armed Hamas militants inside Gaza doing their own thing, Abbas could find himself giving the appearance of blessing terrorism. It’s quite a mess.
Despite that, the announcement by Hamas that Palestinian Authority security forces will return to Gaza is a big step and implies that reconciliation between the sides is still progressing. Security remains a huge hurdle to the implementation of the agreement, and this marks the most dramatic step in that direction yet.
So for now, it looks like Abbas is choosing Hamas over peace with Israel. And considering the fact that Hamas’ terrorists aren’t going anywhere, it looks like Abbas is running into their bloody arms one step at a time.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, May 5, 2014)