Arab Spring impacts on Palestinians

Submitted by Matthew on 11 January, 2012 - 12:13

Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group which runs Gaza as a one-party religious state, has moved three quarters of its staff out of Syria.

The Syrian regime has been the main external sponsor of Hamas and provides the group with a safe haven for key leaders. But Damascus is now in chaos, shaken by opposition protests. Hamas have now opened an office in Cairo where its political co-thinkers the Muslim Brotherhood are on the rise.

Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas Prime Minister of Gaza, is on tour looking for regional political backing. He visited Tunisia on 5 January and has also been welcomed in Turkey and Egypt.

The political and economic situation for Hamas in Gaza is improving. In contrast, the situation on the West Bank, run by the Palestinian nationalist organisation Fatah, is worsening. The EU states have cut back on donations, and the US Congress has frozen two-thirds of its $600m aid to punish Fatah for asking the UN to recognise a Palestinian state.

Talks are taking place between Hamas and Fatah. The aim is to create enough political stability to allow Palestinian elections across the West Bank and Gaza in 2012.

In September the Quartet (the EU, US, Russia and UN charged with Israeli-Palestinian mediation) demanded Israel and the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority submit maps for a Two State deal.

The PA complied within the three month deadline; the right-wing Israeli government is prevaricating.

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