Divisions Within Palestine Leaves Uncertainty in Region

Nearly a year since Hamas and Fatah signed a "national reconciliation" agreement, the two are no nearer to bridging their differences or tackling the mounting challenges Palestinians' face.
In recent weeks, a flurry of envoys has beaten a path to Gaza's door: representatives from Qatar, Turkey, the United Nations, the European Union and former U.S. president Jimmy Carter have all visited or tried to visit.
Yet the result has been the same: no success in reconciling Hamas, the Islamist movement that has controlled Gaza since 2007, and Fatah, the more secular, Western-backed party that runs the Palestinian administration from the West Bank.
Fatah is convinced Hamas, which fought a war with Israel in Gaza nine months ago, is trying to carve out an Islamist fiefdom in the 360 square kilometers of the Gaza Strip. Hamas goads Fatah about its unwillingness to hold elections out of fear it will lose and Hamas will end up in full control.
Such deep internal divisions are in part the reason why Israel repeats that it has no Palestinian partner to deal with, making a return to peace negotiations near impossible.



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