Palestinian unity, that was much-heralded and thought to be a factor in helping to achieve peace, has received a major and perhaps irreparable blow. The convoy of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah was bombed last week as it was entering Gaza for the first time. This was clearly an assassination attempt, although it failed and Hamdallah was unharmed. The ruling Hamas authority in Gaza denied any knowledge of the attack and claimed that they are searching for the culprits. However, this seems unlikely since nothing happens in Gaza without the foreknowledge and/or tacit approval of Hamas. It is after all a militant terrorist organization.
Now no leader of Fatah or the PLO from the PA will enter Gaza for fear of their life, and the prospect of Palestinian unity is a sham. This is a shame since only this week Presidential adviser Jared Kushner and Middle East representative Jason Greenblatt convened the first acknowledged meeting between representatives of Israel and the Arab countries, Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Jordan, as well as Canada and several European countries. There were no Palestinian representatives present because they are boycotting all contacts with the US. The first item on the agenda was in fact Gaza and the need to implement political and economic reforms there to avoid a humanitarian disaster, not in any way due to Israel, but rather to the way in which Hamas treats its own people. Now that situation has grown even more insoluble.
Meanwhile there are reports that the Trump Administration is close to finalizing its plan for peace between Israel and the Arabs. Whether or not this can include the Palestinian Arabs remains to be seen. While the PA is a totally failed entity and Gaza is a disaster, the rift between them does not make a two state solution seem achievable.