World Citizen: Palestinian Divisions Widen

World Citizen: Palestinian Divisions Widen

ASHKELON, Israel -- There is a hint of political schizophrenia in the Middle East peace process. Even as outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declares that Israel and the Palestinians are tantalizingly close to a peace deal, rocket fire from Gaza is reaching deeper than ever into Israel. The latest Israeli community now enduring life under regular rocket attacks is this Israeli coastal city, Ashkelon, whose targeting by militants raises the stakes in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians of Gaza. Israeli negotiators and Palestinian Authority leaders may well be making progress in their peace talks, but a major obstacle to peace is the deep rift within the Palestinian side. And that rift shows no signs of closing.

Efforts to end the divisions between rival factions have not only failed, they have resulted in the sides moving increasingly further apart in their goals, strategies, and tactics.

The competing agendas of the Palestinian Authority led by Fatah and of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, are now threatening to unravel what's left of the Palestinian governmental structure.

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