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A weakened Abbas cannot save Hamas

The Hamas movement should have realized long ago — not now that it is too late — that it cannot survive without the rule of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, September 22, 2015. REUTERS/Ivan Sekretarev/Pool - RTX1RWNF
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These are no longer signs of distress; rather they are calls for help, coming simultaneously from both Palestinian leaderships in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Both political leaderships, which tore the Palestinian Authority (PA) into two entities, have reached almost at the same time a dead end and a major leadership crisis. Regarding the question that greatly preoccupies Palestinians today — namely which movement is more to blame for the situation — there is no one definitive answer. Each one of them embraced markedly different avenues and ideologies. To date, neither one proved successful: neither Hamas’ armed struggle nor the conciliatory approach of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Both leaderships are largely responsible for driving Palestinians to despair and hopelessness.

On his way to address the UN General Assembly in New York, Abbas — together with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — participated in the opening Sept. 23 of a large mosque in Moscow. At the same time, his associates relate, he received the results of the public opinion poll conducted in September by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research headed by Khalil Shikaki. According to the poll, about two-thirds of Palestinians are telling Abbas loud and clear that it is high time he stepped down. More than half the respondents in the West Bank and Gaza no longer believe in the two-state solution, while a large segment of the population (42%) supports — when asked about the issue in a general manner — the resumption of an armed intifada as the most effective way for reaching Palestinian statehood.

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