The Gaza Strip’s economic woes stem, in large part, from the ongoing feud between Hamas and the Fatah faction, which controls the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank. Despite numerous attempts at reconciliation, Hamas refuses to pay its bills to the PA and the PA refuses to provide the Strip with fuel and the like. Yet a proposed UN resolution, advanced by the U.S., condemning Hamas’s use of civilians as human shields, has prompted the PA to rush to its rival’s defense. Yoni Ben Menachem explains:
Fatah . . . is concerned that a precedent will be created if the UN General Assembly condemns the terrorist acts against Israel that Fatah refers to as “legitimate resistance” to the occupation. Fatah, [like Hamas], defines itself as “a national liberation movement,” and it claims “resistance to the occupation” is a legitimate activity in accordance with international law. It is playing a double game here. While the PLO renounced violence in the Oslo Accords, Fatah, the PLO’s dominant faction, has never abandoned the principle of “armed struggle” against Israel. . . .
A senior Fatah official stated that the unity displayed by Fatah and Hamas on this issue reflects the fact that Fatah reserves for itself the option of returning in the future to the “armed struggle” against Israel if there is no significant breakthrough in the deadlocked diplomatic process, and it will ally itself to Hamas through “resistance” (meaning terror).
For this reason, the same official stated that “Fatah is defending Hamas in the same way that it will defend any other Palestinian faction that follows the principle of ‘resistance.’ In the end, [their] objective is the same—to liberate Palestine and to establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital. The dispute is only over the method.”