Judging by recent comments from Colonel Moshe Elad, the prospects for a Palestinian unity government are slim. Writing in Ynet, he argues that the chances of Hamas making peace with Israel are higher than the chances of a reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.
Elad’s analysis is interesting. In the occupied territories, he says, the two groups are engaged in deep competition. Rather than reconcile, their aim is to gain control and humiliate each other.
He also thinks that most of the Arab world has given up on the idea of Palestinian unity. Except for Egypt, most Arab governments now believe that unity will only be restored if one party wins a decisive victory over the other.
All this makes for depressing reading.
And it’s somewhat at odds with my own experience of observing and interviewing the leaders of major Palestinian groups in prison. Inside the prisons, Hamas and Fatah work together quite well.
In some prisons, there have been problems, and inmates from different groups had to be separated. But mostly, their cooperation – though quiet – was fairly effective.
Being in prison, of course, is fundamentally different from being on the outside. But it still shows that collaboration is possible – as long as there is a shared interest and no pressure from the outside.
Perhaps the leaders of Hamas and Fatah should learn a lesson from their imprisoned comrades…
You can read the article here (in Hebrew)