Fatah-Hamas feud could deteriorate into military conflict
Analysis: After suspension of truce talks between Israel and Hamas regarding the Gaza Strip due to PA President Abbas’s veto, Hamas detained Fatah operatives and embarked on incitement campaign against Abbas as he prepared to speak at the UN. Egypt might give up on mediation prompting Hamas to escalate its violent actions and risk war with Israel.
Hamas has launched a wide-scale incitement offensive against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in recent days because he suspended talks on an Egyptian-mediated cease-fire arrangement with Israel.
The talks, which include an understandings regarding a truce between Israel and Hamas had reached a peak in late August and were suspended after Abbas vetoed the Egypt’s mediation.
Abbas threatened that any arrangement that would take place without the Palestinian Authority would result in the PA halting its monthly aid to the Gaza Strip, estimated at $100 million a month. The Egyptians took the threat seriously and the reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas hit a dead end.
Last Sunday, a delegation of senior Egyptian intelligence officials left Gaza and senior Hamas figure Sami Abu Zuhri declared that "the indirect talks on a cease-fire with Israel were suspended," the Associated Press reported.
On the same day, nine fires broke out as a result of incendiary balloons launched from the Gaza Strip, and an IAF aircraft attacked a group of launchers in the northern Gaza Strip. Shortly afterwards, a 21-year-old Palestinian was reported killed in riots near the fence.
Abu Zuhri blamed the suspension of talks on Abbas. In addition to the resurgence of the weekly Friday demonstrations and the launching of incendiary balloons, Hamas launched a campaign aimed at tarnishing Abbas’s name as the man responsible for the difficult situation in the Gaza Strip.
The renewed rift between Fatah and Hamas increases the likelihood that Egypt will soon give up and announce the failure of its efforts, which will lead Hamas to escalate the violence against Israel in order to divert the pressure from the street against Israel — a development which can deteriorate into a major military engagement.
Despite the suspension of talks, Fatah tried to enlist support for Abbas in the streets of Gaza ahead of his speech at the UN General Assembly in New York this past week. But Hamas prevented this. Palestinian sources involved in the details told Ynet that Hamas warned various leaders of Fatah in the Gaza Strip against encouraging support for Abbas.
Hamas warned the owners of printing houses in the Gaza Strip to not agree to publishing posters supporting Abbas. Simultaneously, Hamas security forces detained dozens of Fatah operatives in the Gaza Strip.
In recent days, the Palestinian Authority has responded to Hamas' actions in the Gaza Strip: PA security forces arrested dozens of Hamas operatives in the West Bank. So far, nearly 50 activists were taken intro custody, some of whom for questioning alone and are expected to be released.
Hamas condemned the arrests and linked them to a campaign of incitement against Abbas and the PA’s security coordination with Israel, while the spokesman for the Palestinian security forces officially announced that the arrests were not carried out on a political basis, but only against people who broke the law.
Meanwhile, PA presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said in response to remarks made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN, regarding the definition of a state: "We will only agree to an independent and sovereign Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
"We will not agree to the presence of any soldier on our Palestinian soil." The spokesman reiterated that the settlements are illegal and that any idea or proposal that contradicts this determination will not be accepted.