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Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle for Palestine

Shammai Fishman  |
In his current book, Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle for Palestine, Jonathan Schanzer undertakes the bold task of presenting that rift—an aspect of the Arab—Israeli conflict that is often overlooked. The author is an internationally recognized analyst of Middle East affairs and terrorism who started his career in the policy world as a research fellow at the Middle East Forum headed by Daniel Pipes.

Schanzer calls Fatah a secular organization, the ideology of winch “is fueled by the legitimate and understandable desire of the Palestinian people to create a state with permanent and recognized borders” (p. 7). The truth is that the Palestinian Authority officials—including President Abbas—continue to appear with maps of “greater Palestine,” behind them. This fact has been repeatedly demonstrated by the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW). Moreover, the PMW staff continuously quotes high-ranking Fatah officials who state that the true goal of Fatah Palestinian nationalism is the replacement of the State of Israel by a Palestinian state ruled by Fatah. President Abbas declared at a preliminary conference of the Palestinian Youth Parliament in Ramallah in April 2009: “I say this clearly: I do not accept the Jewish state, call it what you will.” Fatah official Kifah Radaydeh stated on Palestinian Authority TV on July 7, 2009:
‘What exactly do we want? It has been said that we are negotiating for peace, but our goal has never been peace. Peace is a means; and the goal is Palestine. I do not negotiate in order to achieve peace. I negotiate for Palestine, in order to achieve a state.”
Although the religious element is much less dominant in Fatah than in Hamas, Fatah has adopted certain religious ideas—a phenomenon to which Schanzer refers (p. 43), and which cannot be ignored. To be sure, in some of his speeches Arafat hastened to include verses from the Quran…