Ending Palestinian Infighting an Absolute Necessity

  • 4 August 2008

Last Saturday's armed clashes in the Shuja`iya neighborhood in Gaza City between "Fatah" partisans and "Hamas" police officers that led to some dead and wounded reflected the deteriorating security situation in the Palestinian areas, itself made worse following the explosion on the Gaza beach more than a week ago. Actions undertaken by both sides expressed an escalating internal tension manifested by the resort to arms that killed many and coincided with mutual arrests and media attacks.

Palestinian infighting engenders many dangers, especially to the Palestinian people who have become in desperate need of someone who can alleviate their suffering and lessen the impact of Israeli practices that target their livelihood and threaten their present and future in the shadow of a continuing siege and shortages in foodstuffs and medicines. These intra-Palestinian actions serve Israel first and its expansionist goals in Palestinian lands. Israel's interest is in perpetuating Palestinian political and geographic divisions so that it could fulfill its plans to expand its settlements and control the whole of Jerusalem by building a settlement triangle to the southeast of the occupied city. Israel also continues to issue tenders for more houses in existing settlements in the West Bank.

Palestinian infighting allows Israel to escape its obligations in the peace process, citing the supposed absence of a Palestinian partner and marketing this in the West and international forums, thus hindering efforts to establish an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. What is more dangerous is for Israel to exploit the current chaos in Gaza to invade the Strip, as it had announced previously. Palestinian combatants must then understand that their infighting subverts Palestinian interests and only serves those who strive to assure their personal interests without regard to the cause or to the damage they are inflicting on it domestically and internationally.

To prevent the negative and possible repercussions of a continuation and escalation of the crisis, it is incumbent upon both sides to work toward creating the conditions for resolving their political differences and military conflicts peacefully, to refrain from accusing each other of treason, and to sit down for dialogue. What is desperately and urgently needed is unity, reconciliation, and comprehensive dialogue without regard to factional and sectarian interests. Any Arab efforts toward this goal will fail if there were no internal Palestinian desire to end the crisis and face the gathering danger to both the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people.