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Monday, June 21, 2010

Today's PalArab news: the chess game

A few stories give an indication of the intricate chess game that goes on constantly within Palestinian Arab politics.

A new poll is showing that prime minister Fayyad, who is not associated with Fatah, is becoming more popular. Fayyad worries Fatah because his very existence shows Fatah to be not nearly as moderate and pro-West as it appears in when contrasted with Hamas. Fayyad also seems to be pursuing his policies independently of Fatah.

Mahmoud Abbas said he was considering a visit to Gaza in an effort to break the stalemate between Fatah and Hamas. Any such agreement would, of course, make the PA more radical by definition, as Hamas would not accept Israel's existence even when it is part of the government. On the other hand, if he succeeded, the Palestinian Arabs would be ecstatic and his popularity would skyrocket. He hedged his bets, saying that maybe he would wait until after a reconciliation agreement.

Hamas slammed the idea saying it was propaganda; Islamic Jihad said they would welcome him.

Egypt got nervous about the idea, and is reportedly discouraging Abbas from such a visit, worried that if it is unsuccessful it could set back any chance of reconciliation. On the other hand, Egypt also wants the credit if a reconciliation takes place, as it has been the one pushing hardest on that issue.

Meanwhile, rocket attacks from Gaza are on the increase; one rocket fell short yesterday and hit a residential area. There were other volleys of rockets last week, by the PRC and Islamic Jihad.