To the surprise of the western world, leaders of Islamist Hamas and secular Fatah signed an agreement of reconciliation at the beginning of May. In contrast to Fatah, Hamas is up to today not willing to renounce violence or to acknowledge Israel's right to exist. The United States, the EU and Israel consider Hamas a terror organization.
In HSFK-Standpunkt 04/2011 Verpasste Chance zum Frieden. Verhindert die Konsensorientierung der Hamas ihren Gewaltverzicht? Janneke Rauscher compares power structures and decision-making processes of Fatah and Hamas to explain their different positions in matters of renouncing violence. The author concludes that the strict principle of consensus of Hamas prevents the complete renunciation of violence. In comparison, Rauscher points out that mainly the hierarchical structure and the authoritarian processes of decision-making inside Fatah were the basic condition for Arafat to enforce the renunciation of force.
Janneke Rauscher is research assistant at the TU Darmstadt. Her areas of research include for example the transformation of rebel groups.
This Standpunkt issue can be downloaded for free (PDF file).