'PA-Hamas unity could lead to settlement building'

Middle East analyst Barak Seener tells 20 Questions his predictions for Syria and Libya, and comments on the repercussions that a Hamas-Fatah unity will have for Israel.

By DEBORAH DANAN
May 1, 2011 11:37
1 minute read.
20 questions

20 questions 58. (photo credit: courtsey)

 
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What do you think will happen in the UN regarding the declaration of a Palestinian state? Do you think the Libyan conflict will be protracted as NATO leaders have said? In your opinion, what are the chances that Bashar al-Assad's regime will survive the uprising in Syria?

This week's 20 Questions hosts Barak Seener, a Middle East fellow for the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London.

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Seener asserts that a unity between Hamas and Fatah will ultimately harm the Palestinians since the international community will not accept a government which explicitly calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. In addition to this, Hamas has what Seener terms a "genocidal agenda," making peace with Israel impossible.

Seener postulates that the biggest threat facing Israel is US foreign policy, and in particular, its policy towards the Middle East. Seener accuses the Obama administration of haphazardly distinguishing between Muslim groups in an effort to find viable partners among the moderates. Unfortunately, opines Seener, "moderate" is often followed with "jihadist" so that while Hamas are radical jihadists, Fatah are merely moderate ones.

According to Seener, a curious phenomenon has emerged from the Arab revolt age, whereby autocratic leaders find themselves in a position of "damned if they do and damned if they don't." In the case of Syria, if Assad bows to the will of the people, it may undermine the strength of his regime. However, if the reverse were to happen and Assad continues his violent offense, the masses could prevail and Assad will be defeated.

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