Another Reason To Doubt Reconciliation

Coming soon! Palestinian Reconciliation, the tragicomedy

There are plenty of reason why one should doubt that Fatah and Hamas will actually be able to bridge there differences and successfully rebuild the burnt bridges.  Mainly, Hamas represents a threat to Fatah’s iron and illegitimate grip on Palestinian politics.  Yet the two sides are set to meet again in Damascus today to reach a national conciliation agreement that will finally bring the division of Palestinian politics to an end.  Yet, I find myself pessimistic.

[tweetmeme] Haaretz is reporting that a number of junior Shin Bet officers met with Hamas officials in Jenin to have some coffee and catch up.  And this was far too much for Fatah:

According to the Palestinian sources, the Shin Bet officers visited the four in their homes late at night, were permitted to enter and then explained that they did not intend to arrest the four, but to talk “over a cup of coffee.”

The Palestinian sources claimed that the questions the Shin Bet officers asked their Hamas and Islamic Jihad interlocutors were not security related, but appeared to be an attempt at having an exchange with the Islamist groups.

The activists were asked about their views on the chances that peace talks would succeed, and the possibility of a peace agreement with Israel, according to the sources.

The Palestinian sources said that the PA complained about the matter to GOC Central Command Avi Mizrahi, because the meeting embarrassed senior Fatah officials in Ramallah, who could not understand the meaning or purpose of the meeting.

It seems to me that if Fatah was serious about reconciling with Hamas, such a meeting would be met with optimism rather than aggression.  I mean, come on!  Israel is talking to Hamas.  Let me repeat that.  Israel is talking to Hamas.  I think I remember someone saying that was essential to peace.  Yet the Fatah-run PA is embarrassed, not because they could not explain the meeting (I’m pretty sure I could explain the meeting), but because it gives Hamas a bit more legitimacy in political world of the West Bank.  More than the meeting itself, the PA’s stumbling response shows how inflexible it actually is.

Here is to hoping that I am wrong and tomorrow’s newspaper has a large headline announcing the triumphant success of national reconciliation.

Photo from the Memri Blog

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