Hamas official Ismael Radwan recently exacerbated the intra-Palestinian conflict, stating, “Hamas will recognize [Palestinian president] Mahmoud Abbas, as an ‘illegitimate president’ after January 2009,” the official end of Abbas’ term. Radwan, like other Hamas officials, believe Abbas’ Fatah regime in the West Bank may join forces with Israel to attack Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Yesterday, Abbas rejected bilateral talks with Hamas meant to end the clashes between the two factions. Jonathan Schanzer notes in his new book, Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle for Palestine reconciliation attempts between Hamas and Fatah have failed repeatedly since 1987.
Israeli intelligence is now bracing for a possible Hamas coup in the West Bank, after Abbas’ term expires January 9. What this will mean for Israeli security is still unclear.