Thursday, January 1, 2009

Some Palestinians wishing Israel a mazal tov?

The Washington Post reports that "Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip has exacerbated the deep divisions between Palestinians who want to make peace with Israel and those who support Hamas's militant struggle against the Jewish state."

What's going on here? Where is that vaunted Palestinian unity? Are some Palestinians happy with Israel's attack on Hamas in Gaza?
  • The fractures are stark in the West Bank, where sympathy for Hamas appears to be rising in the streets even as the territory's leaders suppress pro-Hamas demonstrations and blame the Islamist movement for the breakdown of a six-month truce with Israel.
  • "The fragmentation has really frustrated the population," said Qais Abdul Karim, a Palestinian Legislative Council member who belongs to neither Fatah nor Hamas. "There is no unity in the national movement and no unity in the street. These attacks have increased the divisions. They should have done the opposite."
  • The fortunes of the two territories -- which together with East Jerusalem would make up a future Palestinian state -- have diverged sharply since the Hamas takeover of Gaza. While economic conditions for the 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank have improved as international development money poured in, Gaza's 1.5 million people have suffered under a strict Israeli embargo.
  • "Hamas right now is making a big mistake," said Ziad Abu Ein, a deputy minister in the Palestinian Authority and a Fatah member. "The people are turning against them and want to get rid of them. Just not by the hand of the Israelis."

For the full report, read here.

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