Hamas has greeted the UN decision. Hamas’ ‘leader in exile’ Khaled Meshaal told a Reuter correspondent that the new status would encourage reconciliation with the Fatah Party and create the conditions for the formation of a national unity government. Meshaal’s reconciliatory mood followed a series of inspiring events. The Israeli operation came to an end in Gaza. According to Hamas, the truce was achieved on their conditions. The outbreak of the conflict has attracted international attention. A large group of Arab peacekeepers has landed in Gaza. The emir of Qatar and the Arab foreign ministers have visited Gaza. The Turkish prime minister will be next, his visit due to take place on December 8th .
Hamas leaders were encouraged by diplomatic visits to Gaza which all followed the same pattern: Hamas was to be included in talks with Abbas and in an overall settlement process. Grigory Kosach of the Russian State University for Humanities says the voting in New York has become yet another powerful stimulus for Hamas to opt for building a relationship with Fatah.
"The upgrading of the Palestinian status in the UN pushes Hamas into seeking reconciliation with Fatah. The chances for Hamas-Fatah reconciliation are now much higher than before."
The softening of Hamas leaders’ tone is also linked to attempts by Qatar, Egypt and Turkey to build the so-called Sunni Axis, an alliance with the participation of Hamas. While the alliance is in its initial stage, Hamas leaders are already making political claims, supported by financial investments. Since Hamas cannot pursue these ambitions outside Gaza on their own, even through the new status, which by itself will not change anything in Gaza, it has to look to Ramallah for its future.
As for Mahmoud Abbas, he has earned enough kudos to go down in history with a good record. The euphoria in Ramallah will soon be gone, particularly following reports on Sunday that the US and Israel, which found themselves in the minority at the UN General Assembly, could freeze financial assistance for Palestinians. In the West Bank, the new Palestinian status will prevent Fatah from pursuing the privileges of the new status in full for as long as the Palestinian Authority remains divided. Anatoly Yegorin of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, comments.
"As long as Gaza receives delegations irrespective of the West Bank, the mere concept of ‘a Palestinian state’ will suffer a major blow and this state will be divided into two parts even before established. Visits by Arab leaders, who donate money and rockets bypassing the Palestinian leadership, are definitely at odds with the UN resolution."
Nevertheless, the new status provides Hamas and Fatah with good chances of negotiating further steps towards reconciliation. Experts say Hamas and Fatah representatives should first set a new date for local elections. Originally planned to take place in Gaza and the West Bank on November 24th, the elections were postponed “in connection with the current situation”, the Electoral Commission said. The two sides could then proceed to calling elections to a single legislative assembly that last took place in 2006. A referendum could become the next point for discussion. Palestinians will be asked to say whether they recognize the peace treaty between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel. Signed under Yasser Arafat, the treaty provides for the creation of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. Leaders of the Hamas movement have promised to respect people’s will.