Daniel Levy, a former Israeli peace negotiator, provides seven takeaways from the Gaza ceasefire in the Daily Beast. From Number 5, “Denying Palestinian political realities just got (much, much) harder”:
Let’s keep this short. Hamas-run Gaza in the midst of conflict with Israel has just played host to the Secretary General of the Arab League, the Prime Minister of Egypt and the Foreign Ministers of Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. Prior to this escalation, regional developments had obviously shifted in Hamas’s favor, including a visit to Gaza by the Emir of Qatar and the commitment to provide some $400 million. Hamas has again proven that it can create a degree of mutual deterrence with Israel, that it is taken seriously by Israel, and can bargain effectively with Israel, from securing prisoner releases to securing commitments barring IDF incursions into Palestinian territory, right back to claiming success in having driven Israel from Gaza. Just to rub it in, on the same day that the IDF was committing not to enter Gaza, its troops were busy conducting raids and arrests throughout the West Bank.
What’s more, Gaza is likely to witness more rapid economic growth than the West Bank in the next period, not only because there is a lower base to start from, but also given the likelihood of delivery of assistance commitments from Turkey, Qatar and elsewhere (initially for reconstruction—think of the rebuilding in southern Lebanon and Beirut neighbourhoods after 2006). The Palestinian balance has shifted, full stop.
Fatah and the PLO cannot be dismissed in Palestinian politics, but their longstanding approach of currying American favor, in the hope of delivering Israel absent the creation of Palestinian leverage and assets, has run its course. They appear to have missed the boat in leading a popular campaign of unarmed struggle and the PA’s security cooperation with Israel looks distinctly unseemly in the eyes of many Palestinians. Palestinian unity remains an obvious need but that is far from easy to secure.