Tough Questions About the Hamas-Fatah Deal

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From Michael Weiss:

• How can the noble cause of Palestinian nationalism be squared with supporting an anti-Semitic terrorist organisation which views al-Qaeda as People Like Us?

• What will happen to Fayyad, who has led the most successful and transparent PA government to date and yet whom both parties have indicated may be fast-tracked for retirement? Hamas at varying stages has called him a "pornographer" for suggesting women receive a modern education, a "collaborator" for being gemutlich with the Israelis and a "traitor" for doing all of the above. Fatah likes him slightly less for ending the Arafat-style patronage system whereby Fatah apparatchiks got cash and villas for agreeing not to blow stuff up without prior consent.

• The United States gave $900 million to the Palestinian Authority in 2010 on the basis of Fayyad's state-building helmsmanship. Abbas has alleged that Iran gave Hamas $500 million a year. The US considers Hamas a terrorist organisation and Iran a mortal enemy. Will it turn off the spigot to the PA? If not, will Iran's loot be rolled into the new PA budget thereby making the aid-reliant Palestinian economy a joint Great Satan-Islamic Republic subsidy?

• Last year, the PA gendarmerie and the Israel Defence Forces held over 400 security summits on joint policing of the West Bank. How many will they hold now?

• The anti-tank missile that Hamas shot at an Israeli school bus several weeks ago and that killed a 16 year-old boy was a Russian-made Kornet. Not the type of hardware one buys at RadioShack, the Kornet has a laser guidance system which means that Hamas was aiming for the school bus. If Hamas uses this state-of-art weaponry against Israeli civilians from the West Bank, how will Israel respond?


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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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