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Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle For Palestine [Hardcover]

Jonathan Schanzer , Daniel Pipes


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Book Description

Nov. 11 2008
In June 2007 civil war broke out in the Gaza Strip between two rival Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah. Western peace efforts in the region always focused on reconciling two opposing fronts: Israel and Palestine. Now, this careful exploration of Middle East history over the last two decades reveals that the Palestinians have long been a house divided. What began as a political rivalry between Fatah’s Yasir Arafat and Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin during the first intifada of 1987 evolved into a full-blown battle on the streets of Gaza between the forces of Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, and Ismael Haniyeh, one of Yassin’s early protégés. Today, the battle continues between these two diametrically opposing forces over the role of Palestinian nationalism and Islamism in the West Bank and Gaza.
 
In this thought-provoking book, Jonathan Schanzer questions the notion of Palestinian political unity, explaining how internal rivalries and violence have ultimately stymied American efforts to promote Middle East peace, and even the Palestinian quest for a homeland.

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Review

"Jonathan Schanzer has performed a very useful task in explaining [the] rifts in the uniform Palestinian identity. It stands to help us, as Americans, have a firmer understanding of the reality of the situation..." - Washington Times
 
"Jonathan Schanzer's account of the latent and then open civil war between the Palestinian Authority and the Fatah faction and Hamas is a long-overdue account of the importance of Palestinian politics on the politics of making peace." --Jerusalem Post

“To understand that these two drastically different Palestinian territories have little prospect of uniting in the future, there is no better book than that of Jonathan Schanzer, a recognized specialist on Islamic terrorism and Hamas.” -Libertad (Spain)

“[One] of the most important books published about the Hamas terrorist organization...” -David Frum, National Post (Canada)

Hamas vs. Fatah... seems tailor-made to address the big questions behind the headlines from Gaza.” -Mark Hemingway, National Review

"It's hard to think of a more important book at this very moment." -Dennis Prager 
"This well-argued account helps sort out the two groups' tangeld history of nationalism and terrorism, the latter of which Hamas refuses to give up." -- Kirkus Reviews
 
"Schanzer investigates the conflict between rival Palestinian factions with nuance and detail as he exposes the long-broiling tensions and violent eruptions between Fatah and Hamas… Neophytes to the tangled world of Palestine's internal conflict will be treated to a serious, no-frills account; those readers more familiar with the issues will enjoy how Schanzer weaves a web of connectivity between the Palestinian conflict with Israel, the conflicts involving Lebanon, the rise of al-Qaeda and American complicity." -- Publishers Weekly
 
"Invaluable. Jonathan Schanzer's book is dispassionate and rigorous, and offers a devastating portrait of a self-destructive political spiral." - John Podhoretz
 
"Jonathan Schanzer takes us beyond the glib media classifications of 'moderate' vs. 'radical' Palestinians and provides important new perspective on the complex forces that continue to menace Israel - and America."  --Michael Medved, Nationally syndicated radio talk show host, author of Right Turns
 
"Schanzer's incisive scholarship unfolds the story of contemporary Palestinian political fragmentation, between Hamas and Fatah, between Yassin and Arafat, and their successors. Can this house divided stand? Schanzer is to be commended for sharpening our awareness of the internal Palestinian schisms and their critical political implications." -- Kenneth W. Stein, Professsor of  Contemporary Middle Eastern History and Political Science at Emory University, and author of The Land Question in Palestine,1917-1939
 
"The best scholars look at what everyone else looks at but see what others don't see. In "Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle for Palestine," Jonathan Schanzer joins the ranks of the most insightful observers the dynamics of the Arab-Israeli conflict by focusing his attention at "the struggle" that may have the greatest impact on the future disposition of the Palestinian independence movement * the intra-Palestinian contest between rival factions Hamas and Fatah, not the clash between Palestinians and Israelis. His fresh, timely and accessible account of the internal battle to control Palestinian identity over the past two decades is a signal contribution. This is must reading for our current and would-be secretaries of state." -- Robert Satloff, executive director, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
 
"Hamas vs. Fatah explains in great detail the Arabic concept of Fitna, which means
internal Muslim conflict" and "is highly recommended for anyone who wants to try to understand the Middle East and especially the Palestinians." -- Jewish Book Council
 
"The Palestinian world is not united. Jonathan Schanzer’s new book, Hamas vs. Fatah, proves this beyond any reasonable doubt...[It] is highly recommended for anyone who wants to try to understand the Middle East and especially the Palestinians."--Jewish Book World
 
"This book provides a comprehensive overview of this deep, hidden, bitter, and often lethal conflict within Palestinian society."  --Asian Affairs

About the Author

Jonathan Schanzer is the director of policy at the Jewish Policy Center.  He has served as counterterrorism analyst for the Office of Intelligence and Analysis at the U.S. Department of Treasury and as a research fellow at Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where he authored the book Al Qaeda’s Armies: Middle East Affiliate Groups and the Next Generation of Terror. He has appeared on Fox News, CNN, and Al-Jazeera. He lives in Washington, D.C.


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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Opens a new field of research Nov. 28 2008
By Stuart Berman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Schanzer's new book signals a new field of research namely the internicine fighting between Palestinians. It also sheds fresh light on the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.

The book is written in a style that reflects scholarly research and ample end notes although it is easily read by those with a basic interest in the violence in the region.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that is concerned about attacks on Israel, the prospects of peace between Palestinians and Israelis or those who want to learn more about recent history of this region.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inner Conflicts June 24 2012
By L. King - Published on Amazon.com
The rivalry and subsequent division of the West Bank and Gaza between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, is a significant but often glossed over roadblock, yet it has profound implications for understanding regional politics and the internal failure for the Palestinians to achieve hoped for democratic norms. In other words - they're killing and oppressing each other, both governments are corrupt and nobody gives a s**t. The democratic deficit is appalling. Not as bad as the present situation in Syria or political oppression in Iran, but well within the ME average.

Schanzer's book focuses on largely on the implications of factionalism which is based on a mix of hamullah (clan), family, regional, organizational and
religious differences. Hamas over the years has received a great deal of its funding from the Shia state of Iran, which irritates the local Sunni
community as well as inviting distrust from Egypt, Wahabist Saudi Arabia and the GCC, keeping in mind that these three are wary of each other as well.

Whereas the PA which also had a history with Iran, chose to emphasize its relationship with Iraq, whose conflicts with Iran and the Gulf States strained
relationships with the KSA, the Gulf States (and therefore Jordan) and the West. Hamas has also flirted with Al Queda, for example sending operatives to training camps in Afghanistan. At the Nared al-Baradi UNRA camp in 2007 the purported infiltration of AQ gave rise to a clash using tanks with the Lebanese army leaving dozens dead and many more wounded. Schanzer feels that there is little chance that Hamas would allow an external rival such as Al Queda would be allowed to usurp the in Gaza even though the groups share similar goals and approaches. I was suprised to learn that one of the founders of AQ, killed in Pakistan in 1989, was a west bank member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Abdullah Azzam, who also was one of the founders of Hamas - had he lived there might have been more concern about cooperation. AQ's goals are regional and grievances span centuries; Hamas is more focussed on the local struggle with Israel. Everyone has their own set of interests - there are always more than two sides.

The book did not contain everything I would have liked, and improvements would have been a look at other actors such as the Bedouin of the Sinai who have been instrumental in smuggling arms, the role of UNRWA both as an enabler and moderator, exploration of the Syrian and Sudanese connection to Hamas as well as the business class in both territories. The discussion of the various clans could have used more depth. Completed in late 2008 just before the start of Operation Cast Lead, it's just a bit dated in terms of current events but still serves as good grounding of where we are at today as, aside from various "unity meetings", the two sides appear as far apart now as they were then.

Now consider the implications of Egypt run by the Muslim Brotherhood, which leans towards Hamas.

An informative read. Recommended.
9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The truth of the Palestinian political reality Dec 30 2008
By Shalom Freedman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Barack Obama should read this book. Also , Hillary Clinton. I would also recommend that Daniel Kurtzer, Dennis Ross, Richard Haas, Martin Indyk read it. In fact I would recommend that all those who have anything to do with the 'peace- process' between Israel and Palestinians read it. And this because it exposes the lie of a moderate Palestinian Fatah, truly ready for peace. And it makes clear just how filled with deceit and hatred Palestinian politics are.
In tracing the historical development of the rivalry and occasionally open physical conflict between the Fatah of Arafat and the Hamas of Sheik Yassin and Haniyeh Jonathan Schanzer gives a close- up look of where the mind and hearts of Palestianian leaders truly have been and are. He shows the process by which 'Hamas' has gradually gained power, replacing Fatah not only in Gaza but in the minds and hearts of the intellectuals of Palestinian society.
He too traces the connections of the Palestinians with other actors in both the Arabic and Islamic worlds. And he indicates the increasing role Iran is playing in the Palestinian story.
This is first- rate research, clearly written.
It also brings us pretty much up to date, and gives a strong sense of the internal Palestinian struggles at this moment.
A must read for anyone who would understand the Middle East today.
10 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little bias never hurt anyone Dec 19 2009
By Ron Assa - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
There is a strong bias in the book and it is evident in the author's treatment of Palestinians as savages and Israelis as compassionate peace-seeking peoples. Although there is an important aspect of Palestinian politics that is brought to light, the author oversimplifies many events and in turn appears to make Palestinian politics radical and promoting violence. If you want to get a better idea about Palestinian politics read Nathan Brown's book that even-handedly demonstrates the shortcomings of the PNA and in turn how this affected the Palestinian people. Palestinian politics is less democratic than the book suggests and hardly represents the entire Palestinian population.

As a beginning to a complex history this book does a decent job at describing the events that spawned violence between Hamas and Fatah but overall the tone is very anti-Palestinian and as a result I feel that any information provided is not entirely scholarly.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent coverage of the topic Jan. 11 2009
By Geoffrey Carman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading this book, learned a fair bit, and left myself tags for reference back to it at later dates.

Well written, scary topic, but an important read.

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