Hamas vs. Fatah
The Struggle for Palestine
by Jonathan Schanzer
Palgrave 2008, 235 pages (hardcover), $26.95
Reviewed by Micah D. Halpern
Jewish Book World
The Palestinian world is not united. Jonathan Schanzer's new book, Hamas v. Fatah, proves this beyond any reasonable doubt.
Schanzer explores the depth of the history and the elevated degrees of tension which evolved into an internal struggle between the religious revolutionary extremist Hamas party and the mainstream Fatah movement which was created by Yasser Arafat and is now led by Mahmoud Abbas.
This book is more than a simple history of the development of the two rival Palestinian groups. Hamas v. Fatah shows how each movement plots the other's destruction and how they are both committed to the downfall of the other.
One comes away from this book thinking that there is absolutely no way that Hamas and Fatah will ever come to an understanding of who the other is, and how they can live and serve the Palestinian people together. Hamas believes that they have been duly elected while Fatah believes that Hamas is no longer in a position of leadership. Hamas wants influence over the entire Palestinian Authority and Fatah wants Hamas only in Gaza.
Hamas v. Fatah explains in great detail the Arabic concept of Fitna, which means internal Muslim conflict. This principle is crucial in understanding the way in which Muslim leaders make decisionsâ€”they are petrified of the idea of Fitna and yet, see it happening everywhere around them.
Hamas v. Fatah is highly recommended for anyone who wants to try to understand the Middle East and especially the Palestinians.
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