July 31, 2023 | Flash Brief

Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation Talks Result in No Agreement  

July 31, 2023 | Flash Brief

Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation Talks Result in No Agreement  

Latest Developments 

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas chaired a four-hour meeting with Hamas leaders in Egypt on July 30 in another attempt to reconcile longstanding divisions between the two rival factions. The meeting in the coastal city of El Alamein was unsuccessful in producing a unification deal but resulted in the formation of a “reconciliation committee” and promises to hold further dialogue. 

Hamas — a fundamentalist offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood — and the PA have been in conflict since a 2007 civil war between Fatah and Hamas supporters. Abbas had called for a meeting of Palestinian factions in Egypt following a 48-hour operation by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in early July to dismantle a terrorist command center in Jenin. 

Expert Analysis 

“Once again, the rival Palestinian factions of Hamas and Fatah are looking to bury the hatchet. But the likelihood of success is not high. Despite dozens of attempts to settle things over the years, the Palestinian civil war of 2007 remains unresolved. Neither faction appears prepared to make the necessary compromises. This, too, will likely fail. But the process plays well back home for the Palestinian people, who desperately wish for unified leadership.” Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research 

“For a unity government to materialize, Hamas may have to make significant concessions, such as handing over control of the Gaza-Egypt border crossing to the Palestinian Authority and relinquishing control of some Palestinian institutions in Gaza. Hamas would likely oppose such steps, making a unity government unlikely.” Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal 

Sticking Points 

According to reports, Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh called for Abbas to hold an election as soon as possible. Abbas responded by promising that an election would take place — but only if Palestinians living in eastern Jerusalem could vote. Abbas called off a parliamentary election in 2021 — the first scheduled ballot in 15 years — on the pretext that Palestinians living in eastern Jerusalem were unable to vote. Yet the cancellation was likely due to polling that indicated Hamas would defeat Fatah. Hamas would still likely win any election held today. 

Abbas and PA Have Lost Legitimacy 

Approaching the 18th year of his four-year term as president, Mahmoud Abbas has led the PA as it continues to lose popular legitimacy due to its arbitrary imprisoning of political opponents, financial instability, and corruption, among other factors. Its increasing loss of control in the West Bank has led to the proliferation of Iran-backed terrorist groups throughout the territory — especially in Jenin and Nablus — and a corresponding rise in terrorist attacks on Israelis. 

Mapping Terrorism in the West Bank,” by Joe Truzman 

Palestinian Authority Refuses Israel’s Lifeline to Prevent Collapse,” FDD Flash Brief 

IDF Dismantles Terror Infrastructure in 48-Hour Operation in Jenin,” by Enia Krivine and Joe Truzman 


Israel Palestinian Politics