The Palestinian people need a government which is united and prepared to work for peace with Israel, but differences between Hamas and Fatah increasingly illustrate why peace will take a long time to appear in the Middle East. President Mahmoud Abbas, who heads the Palestinian government outside of Gaza, insists Hamas must accept agreements made between Palestinians and Israel. “This government must fully honor the commitments that we agreed to in the PLO. When governments come, they respect and honor and accept obligations of previous governments.” However, Hamas leaders are complaining the Abbas insistence on accepting Israel as a legal government impedes opportunities for forming a unified Palestinian government.
Hamas wants to continue bringing in arms and ammunition which they believe are necessary to protect their government in Gaza. Abbas wants to end reliance on violence and shift the emphasis towards that of peace and reconciliation. Ironically, the failed dialogue between Palestinians prevents a successful dialogue between Palestinians and Israel. The real issue is which comes first– an internal Palestinian agreement or an agreement between Israel and a Palestinian authority?