Fatah becoming irrelevant; Hamas on the way up

Almost a month after Hamas' take over of Gaza, it seems the movement has been successful in translating its military success into political achievements. Fatah meanwhile has been unable to recover from its defeat and is rendering itself irrelevant.
Palestinian paper Al-Ayyam reports that Fatah's Central Committee has formulated a set of preconditions for dialogue with Hamas including a demand to restore the status quo ante in Gaza and accept Salam Fayyad's government as the sole legal government in the West Bank and Gaza.

In the current climate, it is highly unlikely that Hamas will renounce its military achievements and by making such demands, Fatah is slowly rendering itself irrelevant. Despite these preconditions, international actors have shown willingness to interact with Hamas while the return of the Egyptian diplomatic delegation to Gaza is another political blow to Fatah.

Moreover, Fatah has experienced difficulty recovering from its defeat and has been unsuccessful in unifying its political and military ranks. The most striking example of this was the recent demand by Fatah's military wing, the Al Aqsa Brigades, to sack PM Fayyad as well as the decision by some of its men to leave the PA's security forces (See: IMEMC 7/6/07; Maan News Agency 7/6/07 and Is Fatah the 'Address' in the West Bank?).

In contrast, it seems Hamas has been successful in translating its military success into political achievements. Despite the initial harsh responses by Arab states and the international community to its take over of Gaza, Hamas has succeeded in consolidating its control in Gaza, preventing the hermetic closure of the Israel-Gaza crossings and conducting dialogue with Arab and international actors. In addition, the release of BBC journalist Alan Johnson (4/4/07) provided an amount of prestige to Hamas in international public opinion.

Additional Sources

Al Ayyam, 7/8/07; full article (Arabic).

Maan News Agency, 7/7/07; full article.

Ahmed Yousef, Ha'aretz, 7/9/07; full article.

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