By Danny Rubinstein, Haaretz
"The speech of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Friday in Ramallah was one of a man preparing to do battle. The chairman and his
associates have no more illusions. Neither about the possibility of a unity government, nor of ideological change in Hamas.
Without such a change, a Fatah-Hamas government cannot arise whose guidelines would meet the well-known three international demands for the lifting of the siege on the PA: recognition of Israel, cessation of violence and acceptance of past agreements. Of that Abbas is certain. Hamas, on the other hand, believes it possible to fight the siege without giving up the ideology of non-recognition of Israel. How? By bringing suitcases full of money from Iran.
Abbas and his people clearly recognize that they must prepare for a confrontation that will involve violence. The chairman did not say Friday when he intends to issue an order to disperse the cabinet, and when approximately he intends to hold early elections.
Everyone knows why: Fatah, in its various components, is not ready for a campaign against Hamas, and needs time. First of all, money must be obtained for the payment of salaries - at lest those of the security personnel under Abbas. Saudi Arabia has promised the funds.
The United States has also pledged to take care of this, and perhaps other countries as well. Nothing is final. Second, the soldiers have to be organized - that is, the security forces loyal to the chairman. There are discussions of reinforcements coming in, in the form of the Palestinian Badr force from Jordan, but that issue also has not yet been finalized. Third, weapons are needed. The Palestinian media has recently reported that the Egyptian army intends to transfer arms to Mahmoud Dahlan's units in Gaza.
Meanwhile, though, there are only rumors.
But most important is Abbas' ability to rehabilitate his movement, Fatah, to stand united against Hamas. That is a hard task. Fatah is headed by a group of men aged 70 and above, who refuse to give up their places or the benefits they enjoy. And there are divisions even within that group.
No less important, Abbas needs to show his people that his policy of political restraint offers some kind of chance.
Money, soldiers, weapons, unity, political restraint. Will Abbas be able to obtain everything he needs for his campaign against Hamas? Even his friends are pessimistic."