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Hamas celebrates
Photo: AP
Hamas to Fatah: Let's join forces
Hamas wants national unity government; Fatah sources: We'll be puppets in such government. Meanwhile, Palestinian leader Abbas accepts resignation of current Qureia-led government. PA sources: New PM won't be Hamas member
After victory, time for politics: Following its election victory, Hamas turned to the Fatah movement and offered that the two join forces in the framework of a national unity government.

 

The offer was made in a talk between Hamas political bureau head Khaled Mashal and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

 

Sources in Fatah said the possibility of joining a unity government will be discussed soon and added they expect a difficult battle between supports and objectors of the proposal.

 

"We'll be puppets in such government," a senior Fatah figure said.

 

Meanwhile, Abbas accepted the resignation of PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia and asked that the current government continue to serve as a transition government until a new one is established.

 

A Palestinian source told Ynet that Hamas' victory and the subsequent government resignation boost the chances of Finance Minister Salam Fayyad to be appointed to the post of prime minister. Fayyad is a highly respected figure acceptable to both Hamas and Fatah.

 

According to estimations, in a unity government Fatah will hold on to a limited Interior and Internal Security Ministry and to the Foreign Ministry, while Hamas and other groups will get most other portfolios.

 

Other sources in the PA said Hamas will not insist on taking over the premiership and will not send a representative to the Treasury to handle talks with donor nations. However, a Fatah member will also not man the two posts. Apparently, Fayyad is the leading candidate to serve as both prime minister and finance minister.

 


Hamas celebrations in Khan Younis (Photo: AFP)

 

Hamas is expected to pick all the portfolios that would boost its ties with the public and have to do with Palestinian day-to-day life. Meanwhile, Hamas will also keep a close watch on the diplomatic front and is expected to greatly hamper Abbas' ability to strike agreements with Israel.

 

Possible scenarios

 

Fatah officials said Thursday that "there is a new Middle East this morning."

 

According to one scenario, Hamas will now become more moderate and somehow fall into line with Abbas, allowing him to maintain responsibility over diplomatic issues, based on a principle that "we will agree to live with a temporary political agreement, and Palestine 'from the sea to the river' will remain the mission for the next generation. In the meantime, we will build an Islamic Palestine."

 

According to this scenario, the Palestinian Authority will see the emergence of a "normal" democracy with a more-or-less struggling government and opposition.

 

According to the second scenario, Hamas will strive to limit Abbas' moves for fear he may dissolve the parliament in light of American and Israeli pressure, hoping for new elections with different results or for an emergency period with no parliament.

 

This scenario includes an unprecedented wave of violence on the part of Hamas. In the meantime, the likelihood of this scenario materializing appears very slim.

 

The third scenario is that Abbas, like Qureia, will give up and retire, as he has indicated in recent interviews. This would be the "nightmare scenario" in the eyes of the Americans and the Europeans, and maybe even the PA.

 

A huge vacuum will be created in the region, which will be mainly filled by violent groups with the possibility of a civil war and many attempts to carry out terror attacks against Israel.

 

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