Four years after the Hamas victory in elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council, and three years since the movement's successful coup in
This week, Dr. Salah al-Bardawil, a leading Hamas official, said that efforts toward Palestinian reconciliation are "frozen." In an interview with Quds press, Bardawil stated that communication between Hamas authorities in
Bardawil's message was confirmed on Monday by Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in a speech in
These statements indicate that there is now no process under way toward ending the Palestinian political divide. On the ground, meanwhile, the rival Ramallah and Gaza Palestinian authorities are entrenching themselves.
PARALLEL TO the rise of Hamas in
The key Palestinian leader in the
It remains widely believed that without the presence of the "
Veteran Palestinian political analyst Yezid Sayigh recently noted that both the
The split in the Palestinian national movement is ultimately a function of the broader strategic situation of regional cold war. It is thus likely to continue for as long as this regional reality pertains.
The Middle East is currently divided between a loose alliance of states aligned with the
The West, which also attaches massive importance to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has itself in turn been prepared to create, finance and underwrite a version of Palestinian politics and governance - that of Fayyad - which is to its liking, once it became clear that the Palestinians themselves were not going to do this.
The result is that Palestinian politics has been thoroughly penetrated by the larger regional standoff. Each of the regional blocs has its own Palestinian authority, which acts as a laboratory and advertisement for its preferred methods. The
The proudest achievement of PLO and Fatah leader Yasser Arafat was the establishment of a single, authoritative Palestinian national movement not beholden to or dependent on any outside power. Such a movement no longer exists. The split represents a profound change in Palestinian politics, which calls into question many of the basic assumptions regarding the conflict which have become received wisdom in
Dr. Jonathan Spyer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center,
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