CAIRO: There are three possible outcomes to the recent events in Palestine, says Waleed Kazziha, professor of political science at the American University in Cairo.
The unity government between Fatah and Hamas has been dissolved and an interim government was sworn in by Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas. Fighting, which saw over a 100 people killed has ended, with Hamas taking control of the Gaza Strip while Fatah reigns over the West Bank.
Kazziha told The Daily Star Egypt that “there are three possible scenarios which might happen now in Palestine.
The first, Kazziha said “is that the siege around Gaza could eventually weaken Hamas and a return to the pre-1967 lines could occur. In this scenario, Egypt might be asked to play an administrative role in the sector. As for the West Bank, it might be handed to Jordan because Fatah is a failing movement and any attempt to revive it will not go far.
“In this way, Kazziha added, “Israel will not have a Palestinian state on its borders to worry about.
The second scenario, Kazziha says, would be deterioration in both areas, as a result of the siege in Gaza and Fatah “disintegrating in the West Bank, because it does not have full control of its ranks.
“The Arabs might then be able to prevail on both parties to strike a compromise and go back with a more sincere power sharing model under Arab supervision, he added.
As for the final scenario, “Hamas might be able to hold on, Kazziha said, “and even take the West Bank and that is a doomsday scenario for Israel.
And for fear of that final scenario, Ahmed Thabet, professor of political science at Cairo University told The Daily Star Egypt that “Israel might occupy the Gaza Strip now that it is under Hamas’ control.
Thabet also hinted that a third scenario could be likely. “We have a fundamentalist Islamic ideology in Hamas affiliated to the wider Muslim Brotherhood funded by Saudi Arabia, so it will manage to hold out in Gaza.
Kazziha expounded on this, saying: “The predominant movement in the region is the Islamic movement. It is on the rise and we must let it peak before it can recede.
Thabet added that “some Arab countries want Hamas weakened, and they might even push for the Israeli occupation. There is a regional deepening of the conflict and a stand-off between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The Iranian News Agency Irna reported Monday that Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini indicated Iranian readiness to “hold consultations with Saudi Arabia, Syria and Egypt on Palestine.
At his weekly press conference Hosseini told reporters, “The Islamic Republic of Iran believes talks between Palestinian groups, particularly Fatah and Hamas, will be the best solution to developments in Palestine.
“Inattention to legitimate demands of the Palestinians, non-cooperation of certain states with the Palestinian national unity government, Western states imposition of sanctions on the Palestinian people and sowing discord by hidden hands are the main factors behind these regrettable events, the spokesman added.
The results of the events in the territories are tangible, and their repercussions are far- reaching.
“The international community and Arab world feel that what happened in Gaza has two sets of repercussions. First, it weakens the Palestinian camp and the Arab initiative for peace that the Arabs are trying to market. And secondly, everybody is worried about a political movement with religious overtones, Kazziha said.
He added, “What happened was a power struggle, and Fatah has become a failed authority. It is on life support. Hamas is better disciplined and more cohesive internally.
The reason why Fatah is propped up by the international community according to Kazziha is because “it is more subject to pressure from the US, Israel and the Arabs.
Thabet predicted that the current situation will lead to “more suffering for the Palestinian people whom the two factions don’t care about.
“There is now a schism between the West Bank and Gaza, Thabet added, “Gaza as an Islamic emirate will be under siege. While the West Bank will become a place rewarded because it is under the West-supported Fatah.
As for the newly formed emergency government, the West has backed it with words and money. The European Union promised Monday to restore hundreds of millions of dollars in aid.
Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said “we absolutely have to back, the new government, AP reported.
Peter MacKay, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, released a statement Monday in which he said “Canada supports the efforts of Palestinian President Abbas and his decision to dissolve the government. We will work with the new Palestinian government led by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and are looking at how Canada can best provide assistance to his government.