Fatah: Without diplomatic solution we'll lose to Hamas
Officials at Prime Minister's Office claim Israel has nothing to do with what is happening in Palestinian Authority, but Fatah officials say 'key is in Israel's hands. Without serious diplomatic agreement, we will not be able to fight against Hamas'
Muahmmad Dahlan and his friends are already working to establish a young and attractive "dream team." They hope that Marwan Barghouti will lead the team.
"The key is still in the Israelis' hands," sources in Fatah said. "Without a serious diplomatic agreement, we will not be able to fight against Hamas."
Senior officials in the Palestinian Authority know that the road from Abbas' declaration to the voting stations is very long and complex. Abbas, in spite of his declaration that he does not fear Hamas' threats of civil war, will do anything to avoid such a war.
The level of violence in the streets is already rising to the level of an explosion, and the explosion may be fast and sweeping.
Hamas will try in the coming days to belittle Abbas' declaration. They will do so by mediating between the factions and through the pressure in the street and an escalation of the physical and verbal attacks. On the other side, the Hamas-led government will continue to convey "business as usual."
Hamas activists told Ynet that one of the ideas the movement will discuss is that if a unity government is not formed in the coming weeks, they will completely ignore the intention to hold elections, claiming that the declaration "is illegal."
"We will continue to operate in the government and in the Legislative Council until the end of the four years, and Abbas' advisors should bear responsibility for the existence of two Palestinian authorities, two parliaments and two government," a Hamas member said.
Will Hamas build its own parliament?
There is a slim chance for such a scenario, but Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal has began building an infrastructure for a new PLO in Damascus, along with rebels from Fatah headed by Faruk Kadumi, a member of the movement's leadership and Abbas' bitter rival. If the model succeeds, Hamas may create institutions parallel to the PA, the government and the Legislative Council.
Hamas officials are conveying the message that they are not afraid of elections and will win any election campaign. This claim is strongly supported by reality and the situation in the Palestinian street. Hamas is transferring funds to the street, particularly to its supporters and their associates.
The dozens of government workers have already received a significant part of the salaries and the unwillingness to recognize Israel is still widely supported by the majority of the Palestinian public.
On the other hand, Abbas and Fatah may reap the benefits if the international community eases the siege on the PA, and if there are signs of a diplomatic process, manifested in an ease of restrictions on the population, a release of prisoners and a release of the funds frozen by Israel.
Fatah officials hope that an encouraging diplomatic atmosphere tips the scale in their favor, although according to the polls, the majority of the Palestinian public still supports Hamas' stance on the question of recognizing Israel.
Israel claims that it has nothing to do with what is happening in the Palestinian Authority. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert even forbade his ministers to comment on the issue.
But sources in Fatah believe that Israel has a key role. According to them, a diplomatic agreement with Israel may put them back at the center of the stage. And what solution are they after: A Palestinian state on all the 1967 territories, including East Jerusalem, including a solution to the refugee problem.
"The equation is a just solution based on the '67 borders, or alternatively, a reality in which Israel finds itself with a strong Hamas and a crushed Fatah. Without a real diplomatic solution, we will not be able to fight against Hamas, which will happy to claim that also recognizing Israel did not get us anywhere."