Palestinian Twist

It is now clear that Obama will not be able to fulfill one of his election promises from four years ago: he could not, by any means, get the Palestinian-Israeli conflict out of its deadlock.

The American president has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House on March 5. There will be two major topics to discuss. One is the (apparent) conflict that Israel is supposedly ready to strike against the Iranian nuclear facilities, which Washington opposes. This is mere tactics; the Jewish state would never devote itself to taking such a step without American consent. Accordingly, they will certainly come to a consensus about the Iranian crisis but we will not find out what the final agreement will be since the leaks after the talks will be misleading. The only thing that is now certain is that a military conflict is in no one’s interest. As for the Israeli-Palestine conflict, after Obama was elected he could not impose his will on Netanyahu. If anything, he conformed to the Israeli prime minister’s will. Now, if he wants to be reelected, he could not take a chance at turning the strong American-Jewish lobby and Jewish voters against him.

With a little irony we can say that the ever more isolated Israel has a strong ally: the Palestinian dissension. The leaders of the different “rival” Palestinian movements agreed to establish an interim, united government and future parliamentary elections. The unity meant a big compromise and a historical turning point between Fatah and Hamas. It was agreed that the government would be led by Abbas, the leader of Fatah, who already wanted to announce the members of the new government on Feb. 18. But this never happened as another conflict broke out.

Abbas agreed on the conditions with Haled Mesaal, a prestigious Hamas leader who is now living in exile. They agreed that the united government would respect the agreed upon conditions which concern the Oslo agreement and other agreements made with Israel. However, Hamas once again rejected to respect these terms. According to the Gaza leaders of Hamas, the agreement concerned a transitional government whose role is not to fulfill Abbas’ political plans (supported by the West), but to prepare for elections. A politically united Palestine has been as yet unable to form because of the conflict between Abbas’ party (Fatah), who is ambitious to come to an agreement with Israel, and Hamas, who occupies the Gaza Strip. Now there is a new conflict arising inside Hamas, between a more moderate Mesaal and a harsher Ismail Haniyeh, who is the head of the Gaza government. Although before it seemed that the five-year-long conflict between Hamas and Fatah would finally come to an end, it seems as instead a new conflict has opened up.

It would be easy to assume that the stronger the Palestinian disagreement, the better it is for Israel. But there are just too many external actors in the conflict; Syria and Iran will definitely make sure that the job of the Jewish state will be difficult.

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