October 2, 2017
Immediate Intelligence Bulletin
A Prediction Materialized – PNA Restores Sovereignty in the Gaza Strip
On Monday, October 2, 2017 the Palestinian National Authority Government (PNA) restored its sovereignty in the Gaza Strip.
A convoy of some 300 PNA officials, including the PNA Prime Minister, Rami Al-Hamdallah, PNA ministers, as well as PNA security officials arrived in the Gaza Strip through the Israeli Passage – the Erez Crossing.
The convoy was welcomed by thousands of cheering Gazans.
Ten years ago, in June 2017, the PNA rule in the Gaza Strip was brought to an end following a violent coup executed by the Islamic Palestinian movement, Hamas.
In many articles which I have published over the past ten years, I have discussed the situation in the Gaza Strip, as well as the power struggle between Hamas and the PNA – and especially Fatah, the major Palestinian factor in the PNA. (I have included see links to some of these articles below).
In June 2016, I published an article in Forbes magazine, entitled “A Realistic Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” in which I emphasized that the first step towards positive progress in that arena must take place in the Gaza Strip. I argued that such a development must be initiated by Arab major factors and must include the restoration of PNA rule in the Gaza Strip. Here is a quote from that article:
“In order to implement this solution, the first phase must make arrangements regarding the Gaza Strip…PNA must first restore its control over the Gaza Strip…Hamas’ extreme ideology holds all sides hostage. Ironically, its extremism also holds Hamas itself hostage. Hamas desperately needs a ladder that enables it to adopt a more pragmatic approach that will allow it to compromise its control in Gaza without formally compromising its ideology. The involvement of proactive Arab states will provide that crucial ladder.”
Exactly one year later, in June 2017 I published an article on my blog entitled “Tasting the Bitter Pill of Reality: Hamas’ New Political Pact” in which I predicted the PNA would restore its sovereignty in the Gaza Strip. Here is a quote from that article:
“Hamas understands that the price is not only its willingness to avoid a military move. The real price is Hamas’ willingness to enter a process that will lead at some point to a situation where Hamas will compromise its sole rule over the Gaza Strip – Hamas may have to share power in the Gaza Strip. This could take various forms – for example, the Palestinian National Authority could -together with Hamas-oversee, or be present, at the Rafah crossing, PNA officials who were forced to resign following Hamas’ military coup in the Gaza Strip in 2007 could be re-employed, and perhaps there will be a joint Hamas-PNA bureaucratic Administration in the Gaza Strip.”
My predictions have accurately materialized.
In both of the above-mentioned articles, I delved into the opposing ideological and political positions and conflicting interests of both Hamas and Fatah. It should be clear, that with the restoration of the PNA rule in Gaza, these gaps have neither been bridged-over, nor have they ceased to exist.
Moreover, one should bear in mind that there are many practical, controversial issues Hamas and Fatah need to address.
One major issue for example is Hamas’ military power.
Hamas leaders make it very clear that they will not disarm Hamas’ military force, the Ezzedeen al Qassam Brigades. While the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas emphasizes that there should be only one Palestinian military force which is subdued to the orders of the Palestinian government and President.
Thus, it should be very clear – the restoration of the PNA rule over the Gaza Strip is only a very preliminary phase on a long, winding path the Palestinians must take.
Side by side with this dramatic development, here is an interesting and meaningful fact to observe. The restoration of the PNA rule in the Gaza Strip is the most significant day in Palestinian politics since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in June 2017. As expected, the event captures media headlines throughout the Arab world – and particularity the Palestinian ones, especially those associated with PNA. In fact, the PNA’s formal News Agency – Ma’an – widely covered the event on their Arab language website. But, its English version only mentioned the event in passing.
Why do I mention this?
Because this fact emphasizes the validity of a major guideline of my program, Inside the Middle East: Intelligence Perspectives* hosted by the Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College. Now in its 5th year, ITME encourages the extraction of information directly from Middle East Platforms of Information. This cuts the dependence of the western audience on western based media sources, and allows direct and unmediated access to the Middle East which is a key element to a better understanding of the region.
*For more information on ITME or to get involved please email me at email@example.com.
Links to some of the articles I have published over the last ten years about the Palestinians:
December 2011 Showbiz: The Palestinian Inner Reconciliation
January 2012 Hamas’ Kingdom of Crime
October 2012 Emerging Axis Signaling a More Pragmatic Hamas?
August 2013 A True Story About a Package and the Middle East
More articles are available at my website www.avimelamed.com