As Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip continue to escalate, the war or words between the Hamas government in Gaza and the rival Fatah faction in the West Bank continues to heat up.
Arab League head Amr Mussa called for an “immediate reconciliation meeting” between the two sides to repair their increasingly damaged relations. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al Faisal joined the call, saying “we tell our Palestinian brothers that unfortunately your Arab community won’t be able to extend a real helping hand to you if you don’t extend loving hands to each other.”
This seems unlikely at this point, however, as Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum publicly accused senior aides to Fatah’s President Mahmoud Abbas of spying on behalf of Israel, and said Fatah had formed a cell to collect information on Hamas’ hiding locations to pass them on to the Israeli government.
For their part some Fatah activists have taken a position unthinkable across most of the Arab world, declaring the Israeli attack ‘Allah’s revenge’ for the Hamas takeover of the strip. Certainly there is no shortage of people who will claim at any given time that the Israeli military is acting on God’s behalf, but to hear those sentiments from Palestinians during one of the most severe attacks against the Palestinians in decades underscores just how serious this split is, and how difficult it will be to repair.