FATAH & HAMAS and the Issue of Reconciliation

Dec. 1, 2013


In January 2006, the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, won a majority of seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections, and in June 2007 it seized control over the Gaza Strip from the rival Palestinian National Liberation Movement, Fatah. Since then the Palestinian people have been in a state of inqisaam (Arabic for division), despite numerous rounds of talks and initiatives aiming for reconciliation and unity. This bulletin provides an overview of the history, structure and goals of Fatah and Hamas respectively, and traces the two groups’ relations from the emergence of Hamas in late 1987 until the present day. In doing so, the nature, extent, and significance of their evolving rivalry - as well as its implications – are explored. There are various “narratives” about these two factions and their respective histories. However, the aim of this bulletin is not to present and discuss all of them but to give a clear overview of the background of both factions and inform readers about the challenges and internal struggles each one faces, their reconciliation efforts, the key issues that separate them, and the prospects for Palestinian unity. With this bulletin PASSIA thus hopes to help the reader gain a better understanding on Fatah and Hamas, the current state of Palestinian politics, the issues at stake, and the positions and ways taken or yet to be chosen by both factions to overcome the critical juncture they are currently in as its negative repercussions on the Palestinian cause.