By Afro-Middle East Centre

On 12 June 2014, three teenage boys were reported missing from Gush Etzion, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank near Hebron. The Israeli government quickly accused Hamas of kidnapping the boys and announced ‘Operation Brother’s Keeper’ – the most extensive military deployment on the West Bank since the second intifada. Israeli officials said the operation had two objectives: to find the missing settlers; and to crack down on Hamas. Thus, the operation must be understood in the context of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s failed peace initiative, and the decision by Fatah and Hamas to form a unity government. The operation has substantially targeted Hamas: 500 abductions/arrests have already occurred; 269 of these are Hamas members and twelve are parliamentarians who could have served in a unity government.

By Afro-Middle East Centre

Last Wednesday Fatah and Hamas announced a national unity deal to end seven years of division (actually, twenty-five years, since Hamas’s founding) between the largest Palestinian parties. In terms of the agreement, a unity government will formed within five weeks, and presidential and parliamentary elections will take place within six months. The Israeli government responded by ‘withdrawing’ from peace talks, ending the nine-month Kerry initiative. Palestinians responded cautiously; after all, this is not the first such agreement. It follows unfulfilled agreements from 2012 (in Cairo and Doha), 2011 (in Cairo), 2007 (in Makkah), and, before that, 2005. A few commentators decried the current deal as ‘stillborn’, but there is hope, even if minimal, that it might yield positive results.

By Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies

This article was written just prior to the signing, on 4 May 2011, of the reconciliation accord between Fatah, Hamas, and other Palestinian factions. The reconciliation agreement ended a bitter four-year rift and saw agreement on the formation of a caretaker, transitional government in preparation for parliamentary and presidential elections within a year. The accord also provides for elections to the Palestinian National Council (PNC), and sets-up Hamas's entry into the PLO. 

The article establishes an important contextual reading of the factors that have compounded the schism between the Palestinian factions, the various dynamics that eventually paved the way for this historic agreement, as well as the potential challenges facing rapprochement between Fatah and Hamas, and how reconciliation might play out.

 

By Mohsen Mohammad Saleh

There have been numerous debates recently about the usefulness or otherwise of the Palestinian Authority (PA). In light of these discussions, many leaders, both within the PA and in the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), find themselves in a deep state of frustration. This is because it is becoming evident that the PA can no longer bring about the creation of a Palestinian state, and because Israel has essentially emptied the peace process of all its content.

By Ebrahim I. Ebrahim 

Remarks by South African Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ebrahim I Ebrahim, at the opening of the international conference organised by AMEC on 'Locating Ethnic States in a Cosmopolitan World: The Case of Israel', Colosseum Hotel, Pretoria, South Africa, 12 April 2010.

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