Opinions on the Mediterranean
as agreeing on possible measures that could be employedagainst each o the sides in the event that these proveunwilling to abide by these guidelines. hese measuresshould go urther than the usual issuing o strongly wordeddeclarations and include tangible actions that could serve tochange the incentive calculus o both sides. Western statesshould also discuss assuming a more lexible approachtoward Hamas, not least as a means to provide urtherincentives or Hamas to moderate its positions.his should be done in coordination with Egypt, urkey,and Qatar as well as other regional actors, given that Israel’sArab neighbors, and the Palestinians, will ultimately bethose tasked with upholding any resolution to the conlictwhile simultaneously providing Israel with security guar-antees. A “division o labor” between the EU and UnitedStates on one hand and Egypt, urkey, and Qatar on theother could serve to create a more avorable setting or thistask and the ive actors should set up an inormal contactgroup to coordinate their actions in this ield.
he trans-atlantic partners could concentrate on reassuring Israelisecurity concerns while working to convince Israel toassume a more orthcoming approach on such issues as
4 Nathalie Tocci, “The EU, the Middle East Quartet, and (In)effective Multilateralism,”
time, Hamas has a clear interest in breaking its internationalisolation by aligning its stance with the positions o suchstates as urkey, Egypt, and Qatar instead o Iran. Fatah,on the other hand, sees reconciliation as a means to escapeits regional marginalization and shore up its dwindlingdomestic support. It is important to note that, contrary towhat happened last year, Hamas has signaled its hesitantsupport or Abbas’s UN bid and that in the wake o the Gazacease-ire, both Hamas and Fatah have taken concrete stepsto advance reconciliation.
While numerous agreementshave been signed and never implemented since the 2007Hamas-Fatah civil war in Gaza, new regional and interna-tional developments seem to have modiied the incentive-calculus o both actions, creating a rare appetite or unity.Israel, on its part, eels increasingly isolated ollowingthe UN vote. Furthermore, the recent conrontation withHamas has shown that Israel cannot hope to resolve thistroubled relationship solely through military means. Any government that will emerge rom the upcoming January 2013 elections in Israel will have to come to terms withthese regional and international trends. Moreover, at thedomestic level, voices in Israel’s political establishmentare increasingly warning that i the two-state solution isdiscarded, Israel will inevitably ace other more insidiouschallenges in the uture and that at some point some ormo accommodation will have to be ound with Hamas.
The Way Forward
How can these new realities be transormed into an oppor-tunity or diplomacy? On the one hand, i the internationalcommunity remains passive, the status quo will at bestcontinue, or at worst, the two-state solution will collapsealtogether, bringing down the Palestinian Authority andcreating a dangerous security and political vacuum in theWest Bank. On the other hand, i Europe and the UnitedStates capitalize on these developments, they can helpdeuse tensions and create a more avorable setting or theeventual resumption o negotiations. As a irst step, the EUand the United States should seriously engage in consulta-tions in order to hash out a common position on a set o goals and ground rules to guide the negotiations as well
3 Dalia Hatuqa, “Gaza conict brings Fatah and Hamas closer,”
While numerous agreementshave been signed and neverimplemented since the 2007
Hamas-Fatah civil war in Gaza,
new regional and internationaldevelopments seem to have
modifed the incentive-calculus
of both factions, creating a rareappetite for unity.