Palestine from 2006

In the second parliamentary elections held on January 25, 2006, Hamas won 74 of the 132 mandates with 36% of the votes under the motto “for reform and change” and thus an absolute majority, while the fragmented Al- Fatah received just over a third of the seats. At the constituent meeting of the Autonomous Council on February 18, President Abbas commissioned Hamas politician I. Hanija with the formation of the government; Attempts to form a coalition of national unity failed. That is why Hamas became sole government in March 2006; however, at first there was also a Christian in the cabinet. Since the Haniyah government refused to recognize the State of Israel and the agreements concluded by the PLO with Israel from 1993 onwards, it was boycotted by Israel and western countries by stopping financial donations. Efforts to obtain financial support from the Arab world and Iran could not compensate for the lack of payments. This exacerbated the conflict between Al-Fatah and Hamas over the division of power. Violent clashes between their militias, particularly in the Gaza Strip, became more frequent.

After a preliminary agreement in Damascus in January 2007 between Hamas General Secretary Meshal and Abbas on the political settlement of the inner Palestinian power struggle, after a »reconciliation summit « on February 8, 2007 in the Mecca Agreement between Meshal, Haniya and Abbas, agreement was reached on the formation of an all-relevant one Achieved group-inclusive Palestinian unity government under Haniyah as prime minister. That with the mediation of King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia resulting document, including With regulations on the distribution of ministerial offices, the Palestinian government only obliged to “respect” the previous agreements of the PLO, but not to guarantee compliance, as was demanded by Israel, the international community and the Middle East Quartet.

The government, which was presented to the public on March 15, 2007 with Abbas’s approval, was supported for the first time by all important forces in Palestinian society and was confirmed by parliament on March 17, 2007 in separate sessions in Gaza and Ramallah. Hanija remained Prime Minister. Because Israel’s existence was not explicitly recognized in the government program, Israel, with the support of the USA and the Middle East Quartet, immediately declared that it would maintain its boycott and also with this government without their clear commitment to the peace process and the » roadmap«Not wanting to negotiate a two-state regulation. Above all, Hamas’ insistence on a right anchored in the government program to resist the Israeli occupying power in the Palestinian territories was seen by the international public as a refusal to reject the violence.

After the power struggles between the militant forces of Hamas and Fatah, which broke out again in May 2007 in the dispute over control of the security forces, and which intensified like a civil war, as well as the complete takeover of power in the Gaza Strip by the Hamas militias, Abbas dissolved the unity government in mid-June 2007 and appointed an emergency government under Salam Fayyad (* 1952). The limitation of their de facto authority to the West Bank made the political and territorial division of the Palestinians evident. In July 2007, US President Bush reiterated it once again the vision of the two-state solution and at the same time reinforced – like Israel – its policy of isolating Hamas and supporting Fatah in the West Bank. After years of stalemate in peace policy, the Middle East Conference in Annapolis at the end of November 2007 and US President Bush’s visit to the Middle East evokedin January 2008 new cautious hopes for the conclusion of an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty, which, however, were not to be fulfilled. In the meantime, the precarious social situation of the population had worsened. The Israeli blockades, the destruction of the infrastructure by numerous Israeli military actions, the expansion of the border fortification system and the internal power struggles had a disastrous effect on economic development.

In the first months of 2008 the conflict situation came to a head again (increased Palestinian attacks on Israeli territory, to which Israel in turn responded with military actions; continued Israeli settlement building). At the end of December 2008, the Israeli army launched air strikes on targets in the Gaza Strip (Operation »Cast Lead«; ended on January 18, 2009). Salam Fayyad resigned in March 2009 to pave the way for a new unity government involving Hamas and Fatah. The negotiations to form this government failed, however, and Abbas was able to convince Fayyad in May 2009 to take over the business of government again. In December 2009 became the term of office of President Abbas and the legislative period of the Palestinian parliament extended until new elections in the entire Palestinian territory. On February 14, 2011, Abbas instructed Fayyad to form a new cabinet to pave the way for these elections. Against the background of the political upheavals in the Arab world, Hamas and Fatah concluded a reconciliation agreement in May 2011, but the formation of a unity government was initially unsuccessful.

In September 2011 Abbas applied – against strong opposition from v. a. of the USA – full membership in the United Nations. In November 2012, the latent tensions between Israel and Hamas erupted again in the armed conflict. After rocket attacks on Israeli cities, the Israeli army carried out a military operation (“Pillar of Defense”) against positions of militant Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Against this background, Abbas was able to achieve prestige in foreign policy when the UN General Assembly on November 29, 2012, approved by a majority of the Palestinian Authority the “non-member observer status”. After tensions with Abbas, Salam Fayyad was enough resigned from his position as head of government on April 13, 2013. On June 2, 2013 Abbas appointed Rami Hamdallah (* 1958) as the new Prime Minister. The appointment was not accepted by Hamas. After internal government disputes, Hamdallah announced his resignation on June 20, 2013, which Abbas accepted on June 23, 2013. On August 13, 2013, Hamdallah announced his willingness to stay in office. Finally, on September 19, 2013, he was sworn in again as head of government. After difficult negotiations, Hamas and Fatah surprisingly agreed on April 23, 2014 to form a joint government and hold elections. As a result, Israel suspended the peace talks with the Palestinians, which had been ongoing since August 2013, due to its refusal to allow Hamas to participate in the government. A government of national unity, also supported by Hamas, under the leadership of Rami Hamdallah, was sworn in on June 2, 2014.

The kidnapping and murder of three Israeli youths in the West Bank in June 2014 and the murder of a Palestinian youth in East Jerusalem in July 2014 exacerbated Israeli-Palestinian tensions. The military conflicts between Israel and Hamas and other radical Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip reached a new level of escalation. On July 8, 2014, Israel started an extensive military operation under the name of the “Schutzlinie” (protective line) after continued rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. It was not until August 26, 2014 that an armistice brokered by Egypt came into force. The conflict claimed over 2,100 people dead. The property damage in the Gaza Strip amounted to billions of dollars.

Despite the unity government that had been adopted, tensions between Fattah and Hamas returned from September 2014. when Abbas accused Hamas of running a parallel government in Gaza, while Hamas accused Fatah of arresting Hamas members in the West Bank. On October 9, 2014, the unity government met for the first time. On October 30, 2014, Sweden officially recognized the state of Palestine. Another success in foreign policy was achieved on April 1, 2015, when Palestine became an official member of the International Criminal Court. Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah resigned on June 17, 2015. M. Abbas accepted the resignation and commissioned Hamdallah simultaneously with the formation of a new government. The new cabinet, sworn in at the beginning of August 2015, was not recognized by Hamas. She accused Fatah of having formed a separatist government. Concerned that the National Authority would collapse, the Israeli government transferred around US $ 130 million to the Palestinian government at the end of February 2016. The money consisted of duties and taxes that Israel collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority but had not passed on. At the end of July, Qatar stepped in to pay the government employees in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, for which the United Nations Authority, which ruled the West Bank was to be responsible, according to the 2014 unimplemented reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas Provided.Abbas confirmed as head of Fatah.

After the ultimately unsuccessful attempts to reach an agreement in 2011 and 2014, Hamas and Fatah concluded a new reconciliation agreement on October 12, 2017 in Cairo with Egyptian mediation in order to overcome the split between the Palestinians that had been going on since 2007. As a result, on November 1, 2017, Hamas handed control of the most important border crossings in the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority. In addition, Hamas and Fatah, as well as other Palestinian groups, agreed to hold parliamentary and presidential elections by the end of 2018.

Palestine from 2006