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By Prof. Efraim Inbar
As long as the military branch of Hamas remains independent, there is no Palestinian unity. Under the current accord, instead of the PA regaining lost Gaza, Hamas is gaining better access to the West Bank. The current Western stance, which supports the continuation of a fragmented Palestinian polity, makes the establishment of a stable Palestinian state more unlikely than ever. Moreover, acceptance of a growing role for Hamas is inimical to Israeli-Palestinian peaceful co-existence.
From an Israeli point of view, the mass demonstrations in favor of “unity” and the very few Palestinian voices opposing the deal with Hamas are depressing. The Palestinian “unity” deal reinforces the negative image Israelis have of their close neighbors: that Palestinian society is addicted to violence, where the shaheed (martyr) who attempts to kill as many Jews as possible – is the role model.
Palestinian society, under the spell of a nationalist and Islamic ethos, is simply unable to bring itself to a historic compromise with the Zionist movement that would end the conflict. Unfortunately, Palestinian rejectionism has won the day whenever a concrete partition plan was on the agenda. The ascendance of Hamas in Palestinian politics through this false “unity” government, further undermines the search for peace.
Prof. Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, is a professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University, and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.
BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 250
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