Looking at the news from just a few months ago one would think that their break was absolute. The fatal mistake is to base decisions on such faulty analysis:
The deputy chief of Hamas' political bureau, Mousa Abu Marzouq, approached Fatah's former Gaza Strip strongman Muhammad Dahlan this week in an effort to mend the division that has plagued Palestinian politics since June, the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported.Fatah/Hamas rapprochement changes the entire calculus of the wisdom of the West propping up Fatah as a "moderate" alternative and pretending that Hamas has been marginalized. This is a basic mistake that underpins the entire idea of Annapolis.
Al-Hayat said reliable sources indicated that the Hamas leader hoped to open a dialogue that will result in renewed cooperation between the two factions, in the interest of the larger Palestinian cause.
Dahlan reportedly rejected Abu Marzouq's overtures, saying he would not negotiate with Hamas after their takeover of the Gaza Strip.
Hamas and Fatah leaders have made a number of public gestures toward reconciliation recently, including a visit by four Hamas leaders to the presidential compound in Ramallah, the Muqata last Friday.
Al-Hayat said the Hamas officials' visit to Ramallah was not without problems, as the Secretary General of the Palestinian Presidency, Al-Tayyib Abdul-Rahim refused to host the officials in his Ramallah home after another Hamas leader made remarks last week that some Fatah officials interpreted as a plan to take over the West Bank.
Hamas leader Sheikh Nizar Rayyan had declared that Hamas would "pray in the Muqata," which is what the four Hamas leaders did last Friday at the invitation of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Hamas' strength has not been appreciably hurt by its takeover of Gaza and world disapproval. There is no sea change in Palestinian Arab opinion against Hamas. It may be laying low in the West Bank but its influence there is much stronger than what the press is reporting.
This is yet more proof that wishful thinking will cause even intelligent people to ignore facts and embrace fantasy.