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Can Israel live with Lebanon-inspired Palestinian state?

Israel fears that a Palestinian unity government would actually allow Hamas to preserve its armed forces.
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After the failure of former US Secretary of State John Kerry’s mission in 2014, to the great dismay of the Obama administration, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas established a national unity government with Hamas. Visiting Ramallah these days one gets a sense of deja vu. In the Fatah movement there is no love lost for Hamas — it is still the archenemy. Hamas wants the Palestinian Authority to spend more resources in the Gaza Strip; Abbas wants to curb this support. Yet these two parties declared Oct. 3 the establishment of a national unity government.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his administration are now in favor of Palestinian unity. If it is up to Cairo, a national unity government with the participation of the two rival factions will be operating sooner rather than later, and with their protege former Fatah senior official Mohammed Dahlan pulling the strings. Such a move could actually close the window of opportunity for any US peace effort. At the same time, there is little belief anywhere on the Arab side in such an effort.

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