Kedar, a retired senior Israeli military intelligence officer and a
specialist on Arab affairs, said the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation deal announced in April
2011 was meant to facilitate international recognition of any Palestinian
state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He said both Fatah and Hamas were
acting "on the basis of expediency."
"In fact, the appearance of unity and the accolades for achieving it are
of more significance than unity itself," the report, released on May 12,
said. "Their differing worldviews have not diminished over the years of
severance, accusations and defamations."
The report said Abbas was ready to risk an Islamic victory in any
election in 2012. Abbas, whose plan to visit the Gaza Strip has been
rebuffed by Hamas, was said to be intent on establishing "a temporary state
of calm in his backyard."
"This is what he aims to achieve through the agreement with Hamas," the
The report said Hamas signed the reconciliation accord amid its failure
to improve the regime's standing in the international community. Hamas was
said to be concerned that the Palestine Liberation Organization would be
recognized as the rulers of the new Palestinian state.
"The recent agreement, therefore, is favorable to Hamas as it enables
both groups to share the steering wheel: Abbas with his foot on the gas and
Hamas riding the brakes," the report said.
Still, the test of the agreement would focus on control of Palestinian
security forces. In the first stage, Hamas would continue to rule the
Gaza Strip while Fatah retains power in the West Bank.
"Nevertheless, Hamas' security apparatus, led by the Izzedin Kassam
Brigades, will never give in to the PLO agenda," the report said. "The armed
wing of the PLO, as well, will not consider, even for a moment, abiding by
demands dictated by anyone from the Hamas camp."
Kedar said Hamas wielded greater grassroot support than Fatah. While
Fatah was regarded as part of the foreign-based elite, Hamas has established
a significant presence in the refugee camps as well as within the lower
"Despite the agreement, PLO-Hamas relations will continue to be ridden
with suspicions from both sides," the report said. "Hamas will constantly
suspect Abbas of flirting with the United States, Europe and Israel, while
Abbas will always be on the lookout for Hamas attempts to recruit members of
his own camp. When the time comes to divide up the bearskin — perhaps after
international recognition, if this takes place of a Palestinian state in the
West Bank and Gaza — the deep-seated divisions between Hamas and Fatah will
again come to the fore."