Socialist Worker

Rivalry of Fatah and Hamas

Issue No. 2291

The rift between Hamas and Fatah runs very deep, despite their reconciliation last year.

Fatah grew in the 1960s out of growing resistance to Israel.

Palestinians felt they had been forgotten by neighbouring Arab regimes since Israel’s violent creation in 1948.

Fatah emerged as the dominant force in the umbrella resistance group, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). Its politics were informed by Arab nationalism.

But in 1993 the PLO and Israel signed the Oslo Accords. This saw the PLO accept a “two state solution”.

It would recognise Israel’s right to exist in return for a separate Palestinian state on a fraction of the land covered by historic Palestine.

From this point on, Fatah has been drawn into the orbit of US imperialism. Its security forces run the Palestinian Authority as proxies for the US and Israel.

The 1990s saw the Islamist organisation Hamas emerge to fill the resistance role that Fatah had abandoned. It played a key role in the popular uprising in the early 2000s known as the Second Intifada.

Hamas won the Palestinian national elections in 2006 and led the resistance to Israel’s bloody 2009 invasion of Gaza.

But like Fatah before it, Hamas has been unable to halt Israel’s constant expansion of settlements into Palestinian territory.

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