There is little hope that reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah will end a decade of bitter internecine feuding which has seen a parallel entrenchment of territorial divisions between them in Gaza and the West Bank.
Gazan and West Bank Arab populations will continue to be the victims of this ongoing power play as both groups remain bitterly opposed to recognising Israel as the Jewish National Home.
Elections have not been held since January 2006 when Hamas won a large majority in the new Palestinian parliament trouncing the governing Fatah party.
Since then – conflict between Hamas and Fatah has seen any prospect of the peaceful creation of a second Arab State – in addition to Jordan – in the territory encompassed by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine – consigned to the diplomatic scrapheap.
Now it seems that Hamas and Fatah are seeking yet again to come to some form of reconciliation -which will only be about preserving their own organisations and retaining their current powers and privileges and have nothing to do with giving their long-suffering populations any say in their own future.
Clearly whatever game of musical chairs they intend to play – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made Israel's position very clear - reportedly stating that as part of any reconciliation Hamas must:
1. recognize Israel
2. dismantle Hamas's military wing and
3. Break off ties with Iran.
Any hope of these conditions being met is a pipe dream.
Netanyahu also declared:
We expect everyone who talks about a peace process to recognize the State of Israel and, of course, the Jewish state. We cannot accept fake reconciliation on the Palestinian side that comes at the expense of our existence.
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