Ever since the 2007 split that divided Palestinian rule between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Ramallah-based leadership has had three options to consider: using force, compromising or waiting for Hamas to capitulate. Israel, which was established and continues to exist through use of brutal force, has always recommended that Ramallah crush the Gaza-based Islamic insurgency. Israelis used their own history as an example. In the early days of the State of Israel, David Ben-Gurion’s army sank the Altalena, a ship loaded with arms belonging to the rival Irgun, headed by Menachem Begin, killing 20 Irgunists.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas could have also yielded politically to the many demands of Hamas, the most important of which was to abandon the Western-sponsored negotiations with Israel and join Hamas in its "resistance" program. Instead, Abbas choose a third option: supporting Gazans while waiting for Hamas to give in. The Ramallah-based government has been paying salaries and covering the electricity costs for the Gaza Strip since the split erupted in 2007, even at the cost of its own fiscal health.