‘Hamas is more legitimate than Fatah’

Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies gives his thoughts on the unity deal, Abbas’s election as PM.

February 10, 2012 14:03
1 minute read.
PA President Abbas, Hamas chief Mashaal in Qatar

PA President Abbas meets Hamas chief Mashaal in Qatar 390 R. (photo credit: REUTERS/Thaer Ghanaim/PPO/Handout)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


The Jerusalem Post is joined by Raphael Israeli, a professor in Middle East and Islamic studies in Hebrew University. Professor Israeli asserts that the recent Qatar-brokered unity agreement was an attempt by both Fatah and Hamas to gain a degree of legitimacy.

Since Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is already acknowledged and accepted by the international community, Hamas sought to reenter the international arena by gaining legitimacy through association with him. Qatar was the appropriate broker for the deal, since, unlike previous brokers such as Egypt, the gulf state remains untouched by the Arab Spring.

Mahmoud Abbas was chosen to be the interim prime minister for a unity government which will consist of a cabinet of experts, not politicians, to be agreed upon by both parties.

The PA had always acknowledged the majority that Hamas achieved in parliamentary elections within the territories, yet until 2007, it meant little since Abbas still had control. But that year, Hamas established a de factor “second Palestinian state” in Gaza, which, according to Professor Israeli, is actually the only one that is legitimate because they still have the parliamentary majority among the Palestinians.

Furthermore, Hamas is able to effectively run Gaza, something which the PA has proved incapable of doing.  According to Israeli, Fatah would not last a single day in the West Bank without the presence of emergency forces from Israel. Ironically, the world continues to treat the PA as a democracy and Fatah as a legitimately elected party, even though Abbas and his government essentially finished their term over a year ago and have not held elections since.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Anti-government protesters demonstrate on a street in central Ankara
June 16, 2013
Thousands take to streets of Istanbul, defy Erdogan