In Which Direction is the Palestinian System Going?

After Hamas' takeover of Gaza, it seems that Israel is taking the division between Gaza and the West Bank as a fait accompli. In this context, Israel should consider statements by security sources questioning these basic assumptions.

Ha'aretz reported that in a briefing to the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi warned that "Dialogue will develop over time between PA Chairman Abu Mazen and the head of the political wing of Hamas, Khaled Mashal" stating that "there will be no separation between Gaza and the West Bank".

While Israel and the US see the split between Gaza and the West Bank as a fait accompli, the recognition of the two areas as a single territorial unit was one of the Palestinian's most significant achievements from the political process. Therefore, Hamas and Fatah are likely to search for an acceptable formula to reunite the two territories. (See: Gaza and the West Bank: Between Separation and Reunification and the West Bank and Gaza as a Single Territorial Unit).

In the same briefing, Deputy Head of Military Intelligence, Colonel Ronen Cohen said that "it is not the PA that is preventing Hamas from establishing itself militarily in the West Bank, but rather the IDF and the Shin Bet".

Although Israel and the US want to strengthen Abu Mazen's position in the West Bank, his weakness as well as several other obstacles, stand in the way of turning him and Fatah into an effective 'address' (See: Is Fatah the 'Address' in the West Bank?).


Sources

Shahar Ilan, Ha'aretz, 7/4/07; full article.