Fatah-Hamas Marriage On The Rocks

The dysfunctional marriage of Fatah and Hamas is in danger of exploding, literally.

A series of coordinated bomb attacks Friday on the homes and cars of at least 10 Fatah officials in Hamas controlled Gaza sparked new tensions between the rival factions.

That was followed by cancellation of a visit to Gaza by a top PA official and Sunday's decision to cancel ceremonies planned for Tuesday in Gaza marking the 10th anniversary of PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, according to Maan, the Palestinian news agency.  It would have been the first since Hamas took control of Gaza seven years ago.

The unity government, based in Ramallah, was formed in the wake of the April reconciliation agreement between the rival Palestinian factions.

Hamas claimed innocence for the bombins and condemned the "heinous" attacks, but Fatah wasn't buying.

Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah quickly cancelled a planned trip to Gaza on Saturday EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini.

The union between the secular nationalist Fatah, which controls much of the West Bank, and the Islamist Hamas, which grabbed control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah in a bloody coup in 2007, was never given much of a chance.

The leaders of the two factions publicly proclaim brotherhood and unity while they all remain too untrusting and fearful for their safety to even visit each other's territory. 

Hamdallah heads a unity government of technocrats that is supposed to run things until there can be new elections for a president and legislative assembly, but don't bet your rent on that just yet.  PA President Mahmoud Abbas may change his mind about stepping down or even, as he has repeatedly, postpone the vote indefinitely.

There have been no reports of casualties from the bombings and Fatah rejects Hamas attempts to blame them on ISIS.  So far neither side has tried to blame Israel, but that's only a matter of time.  

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.