May 3, 2024 | Flash Brief

Hamas Condemns Palestinian Authority Over Death of Islamic Jihad Gunman

May 3, 2024 | Flash Brief

Hamas Condemns Palestinian Authority Over Death of Islamic Jihad Gunman

Latest Developments

Hamas condemned the Palestinian Authority (PA) on May 2 for the death of a terrorist in a West Bank shootout. Earlier on May 2, PA security forces in the West Bank city of Tulkarm shot a gunman who opened fire on their patrol. Several reports suggest that the assailant, Ahmed Abu al-Foul, was affiliated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a Gaza-based terrorist group allied with Hamas and fellow member of Iran’s “axis of resistance.” “The pursuit by the PA’s security services of resistance fighters in the West Bank is a political shame and a national downfall that only serves the occupation,” Hamas said in a statement. “We condemn the attacks by the security services of the Palestinian Authority on our people and our resistance.”

Expert Analysis

“The continued disunity among Palestinian factions prevents any meaningful progress in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel has no capable or willing negotiating partner. In fact, the division has led to competition between Hamas, PIJ, and Fatah over who is doing the most to destroy Israel.” — David May, FDD Research Manager and Senior Research Analyst

“We can’t forget that Hamas and Islamic Jihad pose a threat in the West Bank, not just in Gaza. The PA is only viable if its security forces are willing to fight these terrorist cells and root out terrorists from within its own ranks.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Hamas-Fatah Rivalry

The PA, which, under the leadership of the Fatah party, governs the West Bank, has been in a sustained conflict with Hamas in Gaza since a brutal 2007 intra-Palestinian civil war. In April 2014, the PA sidestepped peace talks with Israel and signed a unity pact with Hamas. The unity government dissolved in June 2015 because Hamas would not allow the PA to operate in Gaza. Subsequent attempts to reconcile in 2017 and 2023 also failed.

China and Russia Attempt to Broker Palestinian Unity

After hosting Palestinian unity talks in late April, Chinese officials said that Fatah and Hamas appear willing to smooth over their longstanding differences. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lin Jian said on April 30 that the rival factions made “encouraging progress” in Beijing. “The two sides fully expressed their political will to achieve reconciliation through dialogue and consultation, discussed many specific issues and made positive progress,” Jian said. Yet as in previous attempts at reconciliation, the two sides did not agree to anything more than to continue their dialogue.

On February 29, the Russian government welcomed multiple Palestinian factions to Moscow for “inter-Palestinian talks” about resolving the Gaza war. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Envoy for the Middle East Mikhail Bogdanov invited as many as 14 Palestinian groups, including Fatah, Hamas, and PIJ, from various Middle Eastern countries, including Syria and Lebanon. The Russian talks also yielded little more than expressions of “respect” and “willingness” to continue negotiations.

10 Things to Know About the Palestinian Authority,” FDD Insight

Progress Elusive as China Hosts Palestinian Unity Talks,” FDD Flash Brief

Russia to Host Palestinian Unity Talks,” FDD Flash Brief


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