Unity Government may Erode the Three Demands

Hamas demands that the establishment of a national unity government will end the economic boycott of the PA. This demand places Israel as a party to the political negotiation between Fatah and Hamas.

In talks held between Hamas and Fatah on the establishment of a national unity government in the PA, Hamas has demanded that the establishment of such government will end the economic boycott of the PA.

Since Hamas' victory, Israel has conditioned the transfer of funds to the PA upon Hamas adherence to three demands: recognize Israel, acknowledge existing agreements and end violence. Israel's position was backed by an international coalition.

So far Hamas has not complied with any of the demands and remained in power, despite substantial decline in its effective control. Meanwhile, the economic boycott of the PA has been somewhat eroded, and money has been transferred to the PA via various channels.

According to Palestinian officials, the guidelines of the unity government are likely to base on the Document of National Accord (i.e. "prisoners' document"), which does not comply with the three demands either.

The Reut Institute contends that if Hamas insists on its demand to end the economic boycott, Israel may become a "third party" to the political negotiations between HAmas and Fatah.

In such case, Israel will be facing a dilemma:

  • Recognize the legitimacy of the new PA government, although the three demands were not met.
    Such position will be interpreted as a political achievement of the Hamas, which could claim it lifted the economic siege without compromising its ideology.

Or

  • Insist that the three demands are met. Such position may further erode the international coalition.
    Furthermore, within the current political structure of the PA it is impossible to establish a constitutionally-viable government without Hamas.
    Therefore, Israel's continued pressure on the PA is not likely to bring about the establishment of a "moderate" government, but would rather strengthen the elements calling for the dissolution of the PA.

Sources

Al-Ayyam, 8/17/06. Full text in Arabic