More than a week after three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped, observers are focusing on the increasingly strained ties between Hamas, the terror group that is believed to be behind last week’s abduction, and Fatah, the rival faction with whom Hamas entered into a unity agreement last month.
Veteran Arab affairs reporter Avi Issacharoff noted that Hamas involvement in the kidnappings would spell disaster for Palestinian reconciliation efforts – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday publicly condemned the abductions.
Issacharoff remarked that top Fatah officials including Abbas have realized they’re being manipulated by Hamas, which has failed to adhere to commitments it made to the Palestinian Authority by among other things continuing to carry out terror attacks:
The change in the Palestinian Authority’s position didn’t take place in a vacuum. The upper echelons of the Fatah movement, and Abbas first and foremost, have realized that Hamas has simply manipulated them: Under the Fatah-Hamas unity pact, it committed to eschewing terrorist attacks but didn’t; agreed to step down from the government of the Gaza Strip but continued to rule it in practice; demanded that Abbas pay the salaries of 40,000 former Hamas bureaucrats and did everything it could to undermine Abbas. This attack was a blow not only to Israel, but also to Abbas and the promises he made to the international community. It painted him in a ludicrous light.
Analysts in early May openly expressed concerns that a unity agreement between the two factions would throw Hamas a badly needed lifeline and provide the organization with a foothold in the West Bank.
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