The view in the Palestinian world is that Hamas successfully rebuffed Israel’s attacks their 8 day conflict.  This success by Hamas has revived political momentum for reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah in the West Bank.  The two groups diverged after Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007.  Whereas Hamas seeks to establish an Islamist state and will use violent means to achieve it, Fatah espouses secular nationalism and has sought international recognition of Palestine to achieve this, albeit as a “last ditch effort.”

While there have been conflicts between Hamas and other similar groups in Gaza in the past, the most recent Israeli conflict has solidified, at least temporarily, Hamas’ leadership of the radical wing of the Palestinian movement. The “success” (or at least perceived success in the Palestinian world) of Hamas recently, however, has bought this ideological debate within the Palestinian movement to the forefront.  If Gaza and the West Banka re to act together again, will they follow the model of Fatah and focus on UN recognition, or will they follow the model of Hamas and use violence to establish an Islamist state? The recent conflict would suggest that a combined movement would follow the rubric of Hamas.  PNA President Mahmoud Abbas has already faced political pressure within the West Bank for his passive stance during the conflict and his focus on UN recognition as the road to sovereignty for Palestine.