Fatah-Hamas Conflict: For How Long?

  • 26 January 2009

Many observers of Israel's war on the Gaza Strip considered it would be decisive in ending the current conflict between the two Palestinian movements—Hamas and Fatah. This assumption was based on the convincing premise that the number of fatalities and destruction to property caused by Israeli war machine on the Palestinian people of the Gaza Strip  would allay the war of words among Palestinian factions, who would be forced to reshuffle their cards and redefine their priorities in light of this crisis and feel compelled to forge unity and agreement among themselves to end the human suffering in Gaza, and to rebuild all that the Israeli military has destroyed.

Political differences are justifiable and understandable. However, it is important that diplomatic and political wisdom and ingenuity devises alternatives and solutions for specific problems, as long as there is deep awareness of the inviolable red lines amongst all conflicting parties. However, what is currently happening among Palestinian factions, and what the media is broadcasting, points to a widening of the differences and that there is a war of words between Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and Gaza, and even between Palestinian factions and foreign leaders. Some elements within the Palestinian leadership may not be aware that the threat of Israeli aggression still lurks on the horizons and that the current calm is still tentative.

The question now is for how long will this vicious war of words continue, and for how long would the accusations of treason plague relations between the two sides? Do defenseless Palestinian people have the luxury of paying the price of these vicious feuds? Is it logical that leaders would not learn their lessons of the Gaza war? Have factional leaders forgotten their main aim, their primary target and their historic responsibility towards their people, and have they veered into minor issues and conflicts against an “enemy kin”? Why are these leaders not thinking of the fate of the Palestinian cause? Why? Why? Many questions without answers!

Several Arab initiatives have sought to resolve the Fatah–Hamas conflict and to heal the wounds of Gaza, but the need for a strong political will and serious desire to safeguard the interests of the Palestinian people, and to preserve and protect the “Palestinian cause” against all adverse consequences remains. The longevity of the current calm in the Gaza Strip is of great importance for the Palestinian people, and there is a need for preserving its security, safety and stability, and preventing the barbaric Israeli war machine from terrorizing and bombing the innocent. Meanwhile, it is also important that leaders of the Palestinian factions maintain calm among themselves in the wake of rising war rhetoric and the increasing exchange of charges of treason. This would lead to tensions and keep Palestine in a state of confusion and disarray, leading to dissensions and divisions, not only in the Palestinian arena, but at the regional level also, without consideration of important matters—like the adverse impact of an atmosphere of divisions on implementing the plans of reconstruction for the Gaza Strip, as the situation might deteriorate into in the wake of these accusations.

The current intra-Palestinian conflict is dangerous, but its dangerous escalation could lead to greater problems, or a more tragic situation than what it is suffering currently.