The formation of a new Palestinian government between Fatah and Hamas announced on Monday is an important station on the path to reconciliation, “but there still many stations to be reached before achieving real unity based on partnership among all Palestinians.”
The United States' decision to "work with" the new Palestinian government has virtually isolated Israel: the only country so far to have publicly rejected the political alliance between Fatah and Hamas.
The nascent move for reconciliation between the Fatah party in the West Bank and Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip could change the balance in the Middle East – if it were to proceed and deliver as promised.
While the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip hasn’t been so quiet for the past two decades, it’s now the turn of the occupied West Bank to show signs of eruption.
A new Palestinian group called the National Union Battalions (NUB), comprising Palestinians from across the political spectrum, has called for a third Palestinian uprising or Intifada. Simultaneously, Israeli intelligence is warning that conditions on the ground in the West Bank are ripe for another Palestinian revolt.
The Islamist party Hamas had been losing support as a result of economic difficulties and factional fighting. Today Hamas is popular again, heralded for its retaliation in Israel’s latest military assault on the Gaza Strip.
After successfully upgrading their status at the United Nations, and securing what has been locally deemed a victory in eight days of fighting between Israel and the Gaza Strip, Palestinians are taking on their next difficult challenge: bridging the long-standing rift between the major Palestinian political factions.