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Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle For Palestine Hardcover – Nov 11 2008


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Amazon.com: 6 reviews
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
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.
10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
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.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
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.
9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
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.


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