by Khaled Abu Toameh
It is much easier for Mahmud Abbas to reach a deal with Israel than with Hamas, whose ultimate goal is to get rid of both Fatah and Israel. Instead of wasting his time on meaningless efforts to achieve unity with Hamas, it would be better for Abbas to devote his energies and time to making peace with Israel.
Over the past five years, Hamas and Fatah have lied many times to their people about ending their power struggle, which has resulted in the creation of two separate Palestinian entities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Fatah and Hamas have been killing, torturing and imprisoning each other's supporters since 2007, when the Islamist movement seized full control over the Gaza Strip and forced the Fatah out.
Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Qatar and the Tunisia have tried over the past few years to persuade Fatah and Hamas to end the war, but all efforts have thus far been unsuccessful.
Leaders of Hamas and Fatah keep talking about the need to end the power struggle and achieve "national unity," saying this would serve the interests of the Palestinians.
Almost every few weeks, these leaders meet in one of the Arab capitals and announce that they have struck a "unity deal" that would bring peace and unity to the Palestinians.
But the Palestinians seem to have lost confidence in both Fatah and Hamas and are no longer taking the talk about reconciliation and unity seriously.
Each time Fatah and Hamas announce a new unity agreement, Palestinians react with skepticism and indifference.
Earlier this year, the two parties announced a unity agreement in Doha, Qatar, but never managed to implement it on the ground.
This week, representatives of Fatah and Hamas met in Cairo and announced another agreement -- this time to implement the previous Doha agreement.
Many Palestinian scoffed at the latest agreement, which was reached under pressure from the Egyptian authorities.
It now remains to be seen whether Fatah and Hamas would be able to carry out the new agreement to implement the previous one. Most Palestinians believe they already know the answer.
In many ways, the status quo seems to be convenient for Fatah and Hamas. Fatah has a mini state in the West Bank and is benefiting from hundreds of millions of dollars that are poured by international donors on Salam Fayyad's government.
Hamas, for its part, is happy that it has exclusive control over the entire Gaza Strip, which has been turned into an independent Islamic emirate. The last thing that Hamas wants is to bring Fatah back to the Gaza Strip. Similarly, Fatah is not keen on seeing Hamas gain power in the West Bank.
Any unity agreement signed between Fatah and Hamas will be fake and is intended only to appease the Palestinian public and absorb criticism. It is much easier for Mahmoud Abbas to reach a deal with Israel than with Hamas, whose ultimate goal is to get rid of both Fatah and Israel.
Instead of wasting his time on meaningless efforts to achieve unity with Hamas, it would be better for Abbas to devote his energies and time to making peace with Israel.Khaled Abu Toameh
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