Just a year into their formation, the Palestinian unity government, made up of members of both Fatah and Hamas and meant to give way to the first free elections in the occupied territories since 2006, collapsed today with President Abbas accepting the prime minister’s resignation, and charging him with former a new, Fatah-centric government.
Fatah officials indicated the split was largely because of the revelation that Hamas had been negotiating indirectly with Israel through EU and Turkish mediators toward extending the ceasefire that ending last summer’s Gaza War, though officially the story is simply their inability to exert control over the strip.
And despite claims from the leadership that everyone agreed the government needed to resign, Hamas insists their faction within the government wasn’t even informed of the decision until after it had already been announced publicly.
Fatah and Hamas have never seen eye-to-eye, but the 2006 electoral victory for Hamas sealed a long-term split, with Abbas choosing (amid Western and Israeli pressure) to ignore the results and factional fighting leaving Hamas in control of Gaza, and Fatah in control of the few self-governed parts of the West Bank. This led to an Israeli blockade of the strip, and several invasions of it.
The unity government was supposed to cap this near-decade split and install a new elected government in short order, though Israeli outrage with the decision stalled the effort, and it appears at this point they’re just giving up on it.
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