We all know what “divide and conquer” is all about. It is a strategy Israel has deployed over the last couple of decades, if not to exactly conquer, but to effectively pacify the people they conquered in 1967–allowing them to continue pursuing their strategic, expansionist and cultural interests.
But the responsibility must also be divided, because if the Palestinians' so-called government forgot about power and control of their non-state and had realized that their cause is so fragile that only a united front has any chance of success, then Israel's tactics of exacerbating rivalries would never have gotten off the ground.
Not only did it did get off the ground; it has proved to be an exceptionally successful tactic for ensuring Israel's continued control, not only of the Palestinian territory and its sham Authority, but over the day-to-day life of every Palestinian.
Israel began to grow scared and pondered a new strategy when the Palestine Liberation Organization and its movement seemed to be gaining too much support among Palestinians and as a movement was getting too powerful. A new strategy was needed. A new group was emerging, a religious extremist group called Hamas. From slow beginnings Hamas is now extremely well armed and perhaps the most powerful Palestinian militant group, certainly the most powerful in Gaza.
Hamas' power grew with Israeli support, weapons and funds-the same kind of support they are now giving to Fatah. When the Islamic movement began to emerge in the late 1970's Israeli leaders sought to strengthen the movement. Believing that if the Palestinians were immersed in their religion they would pose less of a problem, and at any rate, their support for one group would automatically exacerbate the rift ceding from the Palestine Liberation organization fear of holding onto their control. Israeli leaders believed two groups, rivalling each other and working from a different mandate, would be a whole easier monster to control.
Also, many people believe former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon did not want peace. Sharon saw bolstering Hamas as a good way of ensuring the violence would continue and talks would be doomed to failure.