News Analysis: Unprecedented economic, political crises motivate Palestinian Authority to join forces with Hamas: experts

Source: Xinhua| 2020-09-27 21:07:04|Editor: huaxia

by Sanaa Kamal

RAMALLAH, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- The recent agreement that the Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement announced to join forces with Hamas movement, ruler of the Gaza Strip, to confront Israel was motivated by the unprecedented economic and political crises it has suffered, Palestinian political experts said.

Following a three-day dialogue in Turkey, Fatah and Hamas announced on Thursday that they managed to achieve reconciliation and agreed to hold general elections in the Palestinian territories by the end of 2020.

According to a joint statement sent to Xinhua, their final agreement will be announced before Oct. 1 in an online conference chaired by Abbas and in the presence of secretaries-general of 14 Palestinian factions.

However, experts believe that the latest reconciliation announcement came after the Palestinian Authority had exhausted all its other options to iron out the political and economic crises that have engulfed the West Bank, especially given the fact that the Authority has severed all its diplomatic relations with Israel and the U.S. government and a few more Arab countries have normalized with Israel.

Adnan Abu Amer, a Gaza-based political expert, told Xinhua that Abbas has changed his tactics to confront U.S.-Israeli plans by involving Hamas in the battle.

Abbas "would like to use Hamas as a magic wand to threat Israel, especially in the West Bank, by allowing it to practise its political role," Abu Amer said.

Still, he expressed his fears that Abbas' efforts might come too late amid the deteriorating situation in the West Bank and Gaza, to say nothing of the declining significance of the Palestinian cause at the regional and international levels.

"The U.S., Israel and some Arab countries threaten Abbas and are likely preparing alternatives to replace him," Abu Amer explained.

In recent months, the Palestinian Authority's fiscal revenues have slumped by 80 percent as a result of its tax row with Israel, a sharp decline in foreign aid, and an economic plight from the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing the layoffs of 50 percent of the Authority's employees.

Samir Abdullah, director general of Palestine Economic Policy Research Insititute-MAS, warned that the financial crisis "may soon turn into an escalation on the ground, especially in the West Bank."

"Israel threatens to expel the Palestinians from history and geography," Abdullah said.

The last Palestinian elections for the legislative council were held at the beginning of 2006 and resulted in the victory of Hamas.

The Palestinians have suffered from an internal division since mid-2007, when Hamas took over the Gaza Strip by force after routing Abbas' security forces. Enditem