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ALM Special

Why Gaza's future will still include Hamas in a larger Palestinian deal

With the day after the war approaching, the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank needs Hamas in Gaza as much as Hamas needs the Palestinian Authority.
Yahia al-Sinwar (C), Gaza Strip chief of the Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement, shakes hands with a masked fighter of Hamas' Qassam Brigades during a rally marking the 35th anniversary of the group's foundation, in Gaza City on December 14, 2022. - Hamas will end talks on securing a prisoner exchange with Israel unless there is progress soon, the militant group's leader in the Gaza Strip said on December 14. Since Israel's 2014 invasion of the Gaza Strip, the Islamist group has held the bodies of Israeli

This is the first of a three-part special series on Palestinian politics and society. You can read part two and three here and here

As the Israel army withdraws from key areas in Gaza and cease-fire talks progress, the war appears to be on its way to ending and the focus is now on the day after. Any post-war solution cannot be merely another stopgap measure. With neighboring Jordan and Egypt insistent that Palestinian rights must be respected, the only viable solution must be a Palestinian one. The situation is complicated because unless Hamas is completely eliminated — which everyone, including the Americans, knows will not happen — then any solution would need to have the acquiescence if not the direct involvement of Hamas.

Further compounding the situation is Hamas' popularity, which has spiked since Oct. 7. A poll last month by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) showed that 42% of Palestinians in Gaza said they supported Hamas (compared to 38% in September 2023), while the group's support in the West Bank stood at 44% (compared to only 12% in September 2023).

PA and Hamas need each other

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