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Feb 13, 2018 | 21:08 GMT

2 mins read

Palestinian Territories: A Meeting Brings More Distance

(Stratfor)
Forecast Update

Previous Stratfor analysis said that Hamas and Fatah were under considerable pressure to tackle the issue of reunification but that the two Palestinian political parties would encounter familiar barriers in attempts to achieve it. Stratfor's 2017 Third-Quarter Forecast also said that the feud between the two parties would be lasting despite their shared desire to mitigate the disagreement's effects on relations with Israel.

Relations remain rocky between the Palestinian political parties Hamas and Fatah. On Feb. 13, a group of high-ranking Hamas officials met with a delegation representing Mohammed Dahlan, who was previously the security chief in the Gaza Strip and is a former Fatah member. Now, however, Dahlan is a fierce rival of Fatah leader and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. By entertaining the possibility of working out a deal with Dahlan, Hamas officials are sending a message that they have other options than to strike a deal with Fatah.

Since October 2017, Hamas and Fatah have made little progress toward a reconciliation that would end more than a decade of impasse. Hamas, for its part, is unwilling to relinquish full control of the Gaza Strip, which it maintains primarily through its officials in the area's police force and militant security forces. However, Hamas has struggled to provide economic or political stability in the Gaza Strip, which is teetering on economic collapse.

Powerful states in the region — such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates — have all intermittently supported Hamas and, by extension, the wider cause of Palestinian liberation. Turkey and Qatar have continued to provide enough monetary aid to keep the lights on and to enable Hamas to keep a lid on public dissent. Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, on the other hand, have recently focused their efforts on negotiating with Hamas toward a solution that would guarantee stability and security in the Gaza strip — potentially with Fatah's assistance.

But, as the meeting in Cairo demonstrates, Egypt faces an uphill climb in its attempts to guide Hamas and Fatah toward a resolution. Fatah may feel pressured toward a solution, and negotiations with Hamas may make some small steps forward, but the conflict between the two Palestinian political parties is unlikely to be resolved this year.

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