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Three Crises for Hamas

Hamas faces three crises; these are its challenges.
Palestinians hold a placard depicting senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh during a rally in the West Bank city of Nablus, marking the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas December 13, 2012. It was the first rally Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas allowed to take place in the West Bank since 2007, when his Islamist rivals Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip. REUTERS/Muammar Awad (WEST BANK - Tags: POLITICS ANNIVERSARY) - RTR3BJHE

The call by Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’ prime minister in Gaza, to different factions and personalities in the territories it controls to join Hamas in sharing the administration and the management of the Gaza Strip came as a great surprise. Hamas, more or less like Fatah, controls the West Bank via the Palestinian National Authority, and holds part of the blame for the lack of any progress toward a Palestinian reconciliation, an issue that has been on the table for years.

Regardless of who is to be blamed, Hamas was reluctant to set a date for legislative elections to form a unity government. It wants the latter but not the former for fear of losing its hold on Gaza. Yet, the sudden call by Haniyeh to share part of the power in Gaza reflects the multifaceted crisis that Hamas is facing.

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