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Israel fears meetings between senior Fatah and Hamas representatives

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Recent meetings between representatives of Fatah and Hamas have had major coverage in the Israeli media. They are a source of great concern in case they provide Hamas with political and security cover in the occupied West Bank enabling it to resume resistance operations against Israel if the Palestinian Authority stops its own persecution of the movement.

The most recent online meeting was between Jibril Rajoub, Secretary General of Fatah’s Central Committee and the former head of the Preventive Security Force, and Saleh Al-Arouri, the Deputy Head of the Hamas Political Bureau, whom Israel describes as the “orchestrator of the armed attacks in the West Bank.” Israelis believe that the meeting gives Hamas the green light to operate in the West Bank, even though Mahmoud Abbas does not want the return of armed resistance. The Rajoub-Al-Arouri meeting was followed by another between Ahmed Helles, the Fatah official responsible for the Gaza file, and Husam Badran, the head of national relations for Hamas. Israel fears that this may signal an end to the relatively calm situation on the ground.

Over the past decade we have witnessed many meetings between Fatah and Hamas, and many hugs, smiles and handshakes. On almost every occasion — too numerous to count — we heard from Gaza, Cairo, Beirut, Doha and Moscow, as well as secret locations, that a new leaf was being turned in their mutual relations. However, what all of these announcements have in common is that nothing came out of them. Can we........

© Middle East Monitor