Monday, February 12, 2007
The Mecca Agreement
An excellent analysis by Robert Satloff.
It is apparent from a reading of the key Mecca documents that the unity accord was only made possible by Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas's decision to compromise, not by concessions from Hamas. There are four possible explanations for Abbas's actions: (1) he looked at the correlation of forces between Hamas and Fatah and reasoned that Hamas was so powerful that he and his allies could not win a political showdown, even with the active support of Israel and the United States, and therefore hoped to buy time for Fatah's rehabilitation; (2) he was so appalled at the prospect of intra-Palestinian violence and the prospect of civil war that he decided to pay a stiff price for internal peace; (3) he believed that the cover of a unity government may provide him with the protection to pursue U.S.-backed diplomacy with Israel that will, eventually, allow him to turn on his new Hamas partners; or (4) he is not nearly as committed to a permanent peace agreement with Israel, reached through peaceful means, as his reputation has led observers to believe. (A recent hate-filled speech by Abbas, in which he praises such Palestinian "martyrs" as former Islamic Jihad chief Fathi Shiqaqi, lends tragic credence to this latter view.) While each is possible, none — not even the most optimistic scenario, option number three — instills hope and confidence in Abbas's strategic vision and leadership skills.
02/12 05:14 PM