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Hamas' survival strategy

Fixing Palestinian elections for 2018 offers Hamas some time to negotiate the preservation of its military forces in the Gaza Strip.
Women hold Palestinian flags as they celebrate after rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation deal, in the central Gaza Strip October 12, 2017. Picture taken October 12, 2017. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa - RC1BDE142150

The credibility crisis between Hamas and Fatah regarding the reconciliation agreement signed by both parties Oct. 12 can no longer be ignored. Differences of opinion have deepened, and in the last round of talks in Cairo on Nov. 21, the post-signing smiles were replaced by anger and open recriminations. It would seem that the gaps between the sides cannot be bridged.

The first to express his frustration and announce that the reconciliation had reached a dead end was top Hamas official Salah Bardawil, the delegation member representing Hamas in the Cairo talks. In a video clip he disseminated (and then deleted shortly afterward, evidently under Egyptian pressure), Bardawil grumbled that Fatah is trying to sabotage the reconciliation. The Hamas official decisively declared that the talks had already failed, though his movement was determined not to adopt any drastic steps in the meantime.

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