Writing on the New Statesman blog, Michael Bröning, author of The Politics of Change in Palestine: State-Building and Non-Violent Resistance, welcomes the Fatah-Hamas unity deal which was signed in Cairo yesterday:
The intra-Palestinian split severely weakened the Palestinian negotiating position vis-à-vis Israel. After all, the Palestinian president de facto only represented one half of two bitterly divided entities.
Newly regained Palestinian unity has once more changed the parameters of Middle East peace making. For the first time in years, Palestinians will again be represented by a single government. This will strengthen their bargaining power and enable the Palestinian leadership to follow through on the plan to obtain statehood via a vote in the UN General Assembly in September with much more sway.
However Bröning also identifies “a number of challenges” which emerge following the signing of the pact, most importantly the threat from Israel, the US and possibly the EU to withhold funding and political dialogue from the Palestinian Authority because of the rapprochement with Hamas:
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ruled out any contacts between a Hamas-backed government and Israel by declaring that Palestinians “cannot have peace with both Israel and Hamas”. At the same time, Israel announced a decision to withhold financial transfers to the Palestinian Authority without receiving previous guarantees that the funds would not reach Hamas.
The stance taken in Washington and European capitals will have far reaching repercussions. A renewed financial boycott of the Palestinian Authority would jeopardise any prospects for a jump start of final-status negotiations.
Visit the New Statesman to read the article in full.
Michael Bröning’s book provides the essential context to the Fatah-Hamas deal, showing the shifts in the strategies of both Hamas and Fatah in recent years which, along with the revolutionary ferment in the Arab world, have paved the way for national unity.
State-Building and Non-Violent Resistance
Highlights the political activity in Palestine that is building towards a coherent national movement to challenge Israel in the occupied territories.
“Bröning’s lucid text on Palestinian affairs within the context of the continuing Israeli occupation is timely and immensely needed. This book is a must-read for those who want to comprehend the Israeli/Palestinian elephant in its totality, rather than be misled by a blind grasp of just the trunk, an ear, or the tail.” – Khaled Hroub, University of Cambridge
“Michael Bröning provides a much-needed antidote to mainstream writing. He methodically sketches the arc of the Palestinian national movement in the Occupied Territories as it transforms itself from Fatah’s secular nationalist approach to Hamas’s Islamist nationalism. This is a highly valuable book that no student of Palestinian history or the Arab-Israeli conflict can afford to ignore.” – Joost R. Hiltermann, Deputy Program Director Middle East and North Africa, International Crisis Group, Washington DC