FROM THE ANTHOLOGY: Clueless in Gaza

The Palestinian Spring?

Hamas and Fatah Have Unified, but not Yet Reconciled

Palestinian school children celebrate the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas in the West Bank city of Jenin, May 4, 2011. Abed Omar Qusin / Courtesy Reuters

Soon after the Arab revolts began, thousands of West Bankers and Gazans took to the streets. Unlike their fellow Arabs, however, the Palestinians clamored for new unity efforts rather than new leaders. For their parts, both the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and Hamas’ de facto government in Gaza had professed a desire to reunify ever since they broke apart four years ago. But the enmity and differences between them had been too great to overcome. As Fatah and Hamas’ patrons fell from power or were severely weakened, Palestinian leaders realized that they would need to renew their legitimacy from within and that unification would be their best bet. For better or worse, this week’s unity agreement between Fatah and Hamas would never have occurred had the ongoing Arab uprisings not changed both parties’ political fortunes.

Now Palestinians are committed to a dangerous course -- many

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