Hamas vs. Fatah
The Struggle for Palestine
by Jonathan Schanzer
Palgrave 2008, 235 pages (hardcover), $26.95
Reviewed by Maayan Jaffe
Baltimore Jewish Times
January 23, 2009
Jonathan Schanzer's new book, "Hamas Vs. Fatah," is an account of the infighting of the Palestinian people, something that the mainstream media generally ignores. His book is detailed, easy to read and incredibly informative.
Mr. Schanzer sets out to tell the news behind the headlines and to explain why a peace agreement with Israel has been so challenging to achieve. He begins by providing enough history to set the scene in the West Bank and Gaza. He traces the development of Palestinians and their leaders up to today, when Gaza and the West Bank â€” Hamas vs. Fatah â€” are even more divided than ever.
A fascinating aspect of the book is Mr. Schanzer's depiction of the poor condition of the Palestinian people, especially in Gaza. The media may portray Israel as the culprit for devastating lives, but he shows how its corrupt leaders are largely responsible. He also shows how much money is being funneled into Gaza from terror-supporting states like Iran, and how little money goes to the people.
Mr. Schanzer explains why Hamas feels it must not work with Israel, a situation that works to the detriment of the people living in Gaza. If Hamas worked with Israel, Mr. Schanzer says, it would be recognizing the "enemy" and it then might be considered a traitor, which would only lead to the rise of a more violent group.
Unfortunately, Mr. Schanzer's book doesn't leave the reader hopeful. He claims a peace agreement will likely not surface until the infighting between Palestinian factions can be resolved. Steps are slowly being taken, but compromise and reconciliation are a long way off.
This reviewer completed this book just days after the launch of the Israeli operation into Gaza. The book sets a perfect background for understanding why Israel had to make the military effort.
Related Topics: Hamas, Palestinians | Maayan Jaffe
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