Hamas grip on Gaza, irreversible
Hamas’ control of the Gaza Strip is now virtually complete.
Since the summer, the Islamic militants have silenced and disarmed their remaining opponents, filled the bureaucracy with their supporters, and kept Gaza’s economy afloat, even if just barely, despite a 16-month-old international embargo and border blockades by Israel and Egypt.
With nothing in sight to weaken Hamas’ grip, the political split between Gaza and the West Bank — the two territories meant to make up a future Palestinian state — looks increasingly irreversible.
That conclusion was also reached by the International Crisis Group, an independent think tank, in a September report describing Hamas’ ascendancy, and the split is one of the main obstacles to U.S. efforts to forge an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
It weakens moderate President Mahmoud Abbas in the negotiations because he isn’t seen as speaking for Gaza. Israel, Abbas and the international community don’t want a deal that leaves out the 140-square mile Gaza Strip’s and its 1.4 million Palestinians. And it’s unlikely Israel would give up the West Bank as long as Hamas is in charge in Gaza.
So hard is reality that World Muslims have asked both Fatah and Hamas to “do their utmost to unite the Palestinians“.