Fatah and Hamas

The Atlantic recently asked a group of foreign-policy authorities about the struggle in the Palestinian territories.

What is the likelihood of two separate, self-governing Palestinian territories, one ruled by Hamas in Gaza and the other by Fatah in the West Bank, emerging from the current conflict in Palestine?
45% Highly unlikely

“Gaza under Hamas and the West Bank under Fatah is, I think, an unstable equilibrium. So I think it is not likely that that is what will emerge over the long term from the current conflict.”

“The viability of one state in the Palestinian territories is questionable. Two states with smaller populations and no economic base are unfathomable.”

“The West Bank and Gaza together constitute a minimally viable state; if separated, neither is likely to succeed.”

“…at least over the longer haul.”

“Two separate territories administered by rival parties would create an inherently unstable environment. It might be a transitional phenomenon, but not a stable long-term condition.”

“…however, this might emerge for a short period of time.”

“The paradox is that only Hamas has (electoral) legitimacy in most Palestinians' eyes; but Gaza is not a self-sustainable entity. Conversely the West Bank—or what remains after Israeli chopping, slicing, dicing and filtering—is the heart of Palestinian identity (together with Jerusalem) and the only credible basis for a durable Palestinian entity. But it is ruled by the remnant of a largely discredited and corrupt Fatah oligarchy.”

36% Somewhat likely

“This will be a temporary situation; over time the two structures will consolidate.”

“It's hard to imagine Israel accepting two separate states if there's any way they can avoid it—but they may not be able to do so.”

“The internal Palestinian conflict is still in its infancy. Ultimately, the outcome will depend on whether and how the different factions can deliver for the Palestinian people. For a while, though, two separate entitites, ruled by separate political forces, will be the most likely outcome.”

18% Highly unlikely

“Neither Fatah nor Hamas can accept to run half of a diminutive State of Palestine; the battle will continue.”

“The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. They are perhaps the worst governed people in the Middle East, and that is saying something.”

“Two separate entities already have emerged from the current conflict. This does not mean, however, that such a situation is stable over the long term or ever will obtain de jure status.”

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