Sunday, January 08, 2012

Arab pride will ensure no unity between Hamas and Fatah

I've been covering the increasingly hostile spat between Hamas and Fatah over what appears to be a minor incident: Fatah members being forced to wait at the Erez crossing to enter Gaza.

The Fatah members left in a huff, saying that Hamas disrespected them; Hamas responded by saying it will charge one of them with blasphemy for "cursing God."

Now Fatah has again increased the rhetoric. The Fatah Central Committee is demanding an apology from Hamas for how they treated their members.

And if they don't get it, they will re-assess the entire idea of unification with Hamas.

They also called on their "Arab brothers" to be aware of "Hamas' tricks" in Gaza.

They also said
Some of the leaders of Hamas in Gaza have blood on their hands with the blood of our people and our movement; they are not in a position to accuse, for it is they who should be tried for their crimes against the Palestinian national project and the right of freedom fighters of our people as well as their insistence on deepen and consolidate the division that serves only the Israeli occupation and the few leaders of Hamas in Gaza who benefit.

They further said that Hamas' threats to charge one Fatah member with blasphemy are "threats, lies, and an inappropriate use of religion to pour oil on the fire of division."

Hamas today responded by accusing Ramallah of not providing adequate medicines for Gaza.

This incident sheds light not only on why the entire "unity" scenario is a sham, but on why peace with Israel is impossible.

Here we have a case of wounded pride, of Fatah members feeling slighted, and it has turned into the equivalent of an international incident between the two sides, with rhetoric that one simply would not see outside the Muslim world. No one is even attempting to back down or to tone down the rhetoric - on the contrary, they are bringing up old grievances.

Both sides hate each other, and even though their leaders will grimace in their vain attempt to "unify" so they can fight Israel, there is no unity there, and there never will be. If there ever is an election (something that Mahmoud Zahar yesterday said would not happen by May as scheduled) the losing side is likely to ignore the results and keep whatever territory they already rule. Arab pride will not allow admitting defeat, or guilt.

If this is how Hamas and Fatah talk to each other when they are trying their hardest to pretend to be unified, how can anyone ever think that there could be peace between them and Israel?