Fatah-Hamas Deal Highlights Regional ‘Third Way’

Predictably, Israel and the U.S. have reacted to the news of a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation deal using an outdated lens, whereby the inclusion of Hamas in any Palestinian government rules out the possibility of a negotiated two-state solution. That is most likely true, but it is also irrelevant. The real impact for Israel of the Hamas-Fatah deal, assuming it holds up, is not in its effect on the short-term possibilities, where no peace deal was forthcoming regardless. The impact is on the long-term choices Israel faces. Before the deal, the alternative to a two-state solution was a one-state apartheid system that signaled the end of an Israeli democracy. Now the alternative to a two-state solution, if one exists, is Fortress Israel, which signals the end of any hope that Israel might integrate into its neighborhood.

If this sounds familiar, that's because it is: It's the way things looked before the 1967 War forced the region's leaders, if not its people, to accept the reality of Israel's continued existence. The height of that acceptance was the Arab Peace Plan, but rather than use that offer of a regional accommodation to create a broad set of strategic facts on the ground, Israel pursued a short-sighted strategy of creating a narrow set of geographical facts on the ground, in the form of its West Bank settlement policy. The Hamas-Fatah deal illustrates the degree to which that opportunity has been squandered.

Israel might have been able to impose an apartheid system on a West Bank governed by a U.S.-leaning Fatah, while benefiting from Egypt's help to smother any resistance in Gaza. But the reconciliation deal suggests that both of those pillars of the status quo are now in question. Fatah has apparently internalized the lesson that relying on Washington for a peace deal with Israel is a mug's game. And Egypt is reorienting its regional posture to more effectively pursue its interests.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.