Will Gaza Declare Independence?

There is growing evidence that Hamas in Gaza will unilaterally declare its independence, and disengage from Israel and the West Bank (at least for the time being).

The pan-Arab newspaper Al Arabiya reported yesterday that Hamas leaders have discussed the issue with Egypt. Although Hamas protocol is to publicly reject unilateralism and independence – which some Palestinians believe would exacerbate Palestinian unity efforts, benefit Israel by absolving its responsibility of the coastal strip and forfeit the Palestinian goal of a viable independent state – they are privately striving toward the creation of an independent Islamic emirate, says Khaled Mesmar, leader of the Palestinian Committee at the Palestinian National Council.

This report coincides with a vicious attack last night by Hamas thugs assaulting Yahya Rabah, a senior Fatah operative in Gaza City.  WAFA, the official Palestinian News Agency, said that Rabah has been hospitalized and that the attack was likely in revenge for Yahya’s efforts to tarnish the reputation of Hamas.

Although Hamas condemned the assault this morning, the bitter enmity between Hamas and Fatah since 2006 persists.  Neither side wishes to cede power or reconcile, despite numerous mediation attempts by neighboring Arab countries.  This sobering fact coupled with Gaza’s growing dependence on Cairo for freedom of movement, electricity and gas suggests that Hamas is moving closer to becoming a self-sufficient Islamic emirate while international demands of a unified Palestinian state comprising Gaza and the West Bank appear more of an impractical notion.

Perhaps a new strategy is needed to address the changing regional dynamics.

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