04/29/2011, 00.00
ISRAEL – PALESTINE
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Hamas-Fatah deal undermines Israeli-Palestinian relations

Samir Qumsieh, a Catholic journalist based in Bethlehem, sees the proposal as an attempt by Hamas to deal with the fallout from the Syrian crisis. A national unity government would not reconcile the two main Palestinian factions, but would further undermine the prospects for a future Palestinian state.
Bethlehem (AsiaNews) – A Hamas-Fatah national unity government is a hard blow to relations between the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Israel and could undermine the few chances left for a future Palestinian state, this according to Samir Qumsieh, head of the Catholic, Bethlehem-based Al Mahed Nativity TV. For him, Hamas’ move is meant to cope with the fallout from the crisis in Syria and Egypt.

The agreement between the two Palestinian factions, at odds with each other since 2007, entails no relations with the Israeli government, Qumsieh explained. The latter could thus just sit back and refuse to accept a Palestinian state led by extremists.

Netanyahu is very concerned about that prospect and has called on Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas to choose between Hamas and Israel, urging him to pursue talks whilst keeping at bay the Islamist movement, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007.

According to Qumsieh, a coalition government with Hamas could simply end talks between the PNA and Israel, over border controls and settlements for example.

“I think that this accord will not settle matters between Fatah and Hamas,” he said. “It will make matters more difficult for Palestine, and the future government won’t last long.”

Despite the support of a number of Western nations for a Palestinian state, the journalist is pessimistic about its possibility. “I doubt a Palestinian state will emerge in the future,” Qumsieh laments, “even though all Palestinians want to live in a democratic nation based on free elections.”

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