Palestinian Deal a Very Vague Hint of Progress

Palestinian Deal a Very Vague Hint of Progress

JERUSALEM -- Pedestrians jam this city's lively Ben Yehuda Street during the blindingly bright daylight hours and late into the Middle Eastern night. From the local newsstands, the papers announce an agreement between the Palestinian sides, Hamas and Fatah, to form a unity government, holding out the tantalizing prospect of progress in the quest for peace. The news sifts into conversations along this white stone road, where shops and restaurants buzz with activity and street musicians entertain the crowds even as armed guards posted at every door check restaurant and cafe patrons to keep suicide bombers from striking this, one of their favorite Jerusalem targets. This is what passes for normal in Israel: a full, complicated life, with the constantly looming threat of tragedy, and a perennial hope for peace.

The question this day is whether the just-announced agreement between Hamas, the radical Islamic party that controls the Palestinian government, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of the rival Fatah party, will bring this land any closer to peace.

The reason Hamas and Fatah have decided to work together, stated simply, is money. Since Hamas took power, international donors and Israel have cut off the flow of funds to the Palestinian Authority, creating a desperate financial crisis. The crisis has spawned protests within the Palestinian territories against Hamas, along with a sharp drop in popular support for the party that swept to power earlier this year. A recent poll by the Palestinian an-Najah National University in Nablus shows that if elections were held today, Hamas would receive only 20 percent of the vote, a stunning reversal in its standing. The situation has grown dire enough that the group's leaders in Gaza (in contrast with their rival power center exiled in Damascus) know they urgently need to take action.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article as well as three free articles per month. You'll also receive our free email newsletter to stay up to date on all our coverage:

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 your own personal researcher and analyst for news and events around the globe. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of 15,000+ articles
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday
  • Weekly in-depth reports on important issues and countries
  • Daily links to must-read news, analysis, and opinion from top sources around the globe, curated by our keen-eyed team of editors
  • Your choice of weekly region-specific newsletters, delivered to your inbox.
  • Smartphone- and tablet-friendly website.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

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

More World Politics Review