Palestinian leadership looks to engage Israel, US as Hamas’ popularity climbs

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Yahya Sinwar (C), Hamas’ political chief in Gaza, attends a rally organized by the representatives of prominent families (mokhtar) in support of “the Palestinian resistance” in Gaza City, on June 20, 2021.  (photo: Mahmud Hams / AFP via Getty Images)
Amid an uptick in popular support for Hamas following recent confrontations in East Jerusalem and the Israel-Hamas war, Fatah and the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah are looking for ways to stay relevant.

By Daoud Kuttab | Al- Monitor | June 21, 2021

“The opportunity is there for the new Israeli government to show they are ready for peace and the end of occupation and not for the continuation of the settlement policies, land confiscations, death and destruction,”
— Mohammad Shtayyeh, Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority

While the new Israeli government headed by right-wing, pro-settler Naftali Bennett starts to settle in, the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah is hoping to engage with them and with the Biden administration.

Reports that the Palestinian government has established a negotiating team has been denied to Al-Monitor by senior officials in Ramallah, but the fact that a story to that effect was published tends to indicate that certain elements within the entourage of President Mahmoud Abbas are looking for ways to be relevant.

Ali Jarbawi, a political science professor at Birzeit University, told Al-Monitor the issue is connected to the calls by the Biden administration for a return to the negotiations track in order to fulfill the two-state solution plan. “But everyone knows there is no solution on the horizon and all this will do is manage the conflict and possibly make it less costly and with less regular conflict.” Jarbawi also believes the Palestinian leadership is looking for ways to remain relevant. “The Palestinian Authority (PA) is interested in a public role, and the return to negotiations can be one that will help give it relevance.”

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