Palestine has erupted into chaos as Hamas takes over Gaza and President Mahmoud Abbas scraps the government, blaming the internal strife on Hamas, and calls for new elections.
I remember four months ago when there was some sign of hope for a coalition between Abbas and Prime Minister Ishmael Haniyeh via the Mecca accords, with the bringing together of a unity government. Hamas even agreed to respect prior peace agreements made by the PLO, though didn't specifically address Israel.
The only G8 groups that considered backing the accords were Germany, France and Russia, with the U.S. only agreeing to meet with Abbas.
It's possible to partially blame the West for lack of progress there. The U.S. and Israel were as stubborn as Hamas about conditions in the international "peace process."
The U.S.-Israel camp conditioned restoration of foreign aid if Hamas reject violence, recognized Israel, and past agreements. Hamas wanted to keep the slightly altered (Mecca Accords) status quo vis a vis Israel, in turn for restored aid.
In the midst of the February talks, a Rural Sociologist and West Bank native at UW-Madison, with whom I talked, made a common yet poignant observation. The good professor pointed out, who the hell are Israel and the U.S. to make demands when they don't really embrace peaceful terms with all of Palestine? Israel doesn't recognize Hamas as an authority despite both allowing state-sponsored violence against civilians.
On the other hand.
The West does not deserve the entire blame for the current situation. Hamas was so horizontally organized that internal strife was already common despite the Mecca Accords.
Even if Haniyeh had complied with Israel's demands (less likely than a snowstorm in the West Bank), pissed off, fragmented groups would have still lobbed missiles.
What happens in the planned new elections is another sign of whether there could be any progress for reconciliation between Fatah, Hamas, let alone Israel in the next 20 years. And this is all the more convoluted with Syria and Iran's involvement.
Abbas has been able to pull off small miracles in the past. Let's just hope the U.S. doesn't support him so much that he or the government there are even less legitimate than now. Or that Abbas doesn't get killed.
For a BBC take, click here.