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Hamas' gain, Fatah's loss

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    Hamas gain, Fatah s loss Uriel Heilman Friday Jun 20,2008 Israel s new cease-fire agreement with Hamas may be good news in Sderot and Gaza City, but it s bad
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 24, 2008
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      Hamas' gain, Fatah's loss
      Uriel Heilman
      Friday Jun 20,2008

      Israel's new cease-fire agreement with Hamas may be good news in
      Sderot and Gaza City, but it's bad news for the Palestinian Authority
      leadership in Ramallah.

      As if Fatah's routing by Hamas in elections in January 2006 and in a
      violent coup in June 2007 weren't enough, now Israel is signing
      agreements with Hamas while the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority is,
      once again, sidelined. And it doesn't help that P.A. President
      Mahmoud Abbas is virtually ignored while Bashar Assad's Syria gets
      all the attention in Israeli-Arab peace talks (this week, the
      possibility of Lebanon-Israel talks even made headlines).

      On Thursday night, Fatah's Kadura Fares talked to Israel's Channel 2
      TV about it, and on Friday Ha'aretz carried a column by Akiva Eldar
      on the subject. If Israel wants to strengthen the hands of the
      moderate Palestinian leaders, awarding a victory to Hamas extremists
      and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (the deposed P.A. prime minister) is
      not the way to go, the argument goes. Eldar writes:

      Palestinian pollster Dr. Khalil Shikaki said this week at a
      conference in Jerusalem that if elections had been held on the day
      the cease-fire agreement was finalized, Hamas would have won
      majority support in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Shikaki
      saw the cease-fire agreement as the reason for this...

      For many months, Fatah mocked Hamas by arguing that the Qassam
      rockets, which Abu Mazen called "toys," had no effect on Israel and
      were causing the people of Gaza unnecessary suffering. And here we
      discover that the "toys" are a strategic weapon. Instead of
      conducting the negotiations through Abu Mazen and letting him reap
      the accomplishment, or at least control the border crossings,
      Israel has turned Haniyeh into the hero of the hour. And that is
      not the end. Now that Hamas has shown that you can get recognition
      from Israel without recognizing it yourself, Haniyeh will free the
      prisoners that Fatah was unable to free; perhaps even their leader,
      Marwan Barghouti.



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