Futile Warfare in Palestinian Territories

  • 17 June 2007

The Palestinian people have faced many calamities since 1948, but the open confrontation between Hamas and Fatah that reached catastrophic proportions in recent days, represents a disaster of a different kind that could prove more dangerous and acute than all previous calamities. This unreasonable confrontation is not only dividing the Palestinian people and planting seeds of animosity and divisions among them, but also splitting Palestinian territories between Gaza, which is under the control of Hamas, and the West Bank, which is presently under the sway of Fatah. This has struck the biggest blow to the dream of a single, independent Palestinian state.

What is happening in the Palestinian Territories was not anticipated by even the most pessimistic observers because no one had imagined that matters could reach a stage where each party would be willing to kill the supporters and sons of the other party, and that barricades would be built on the blood spilt between Gaza and the West bank by the hands of the Palestinians themselves and not by Israeli forces. Few had imagined that Palestinians would be divided between two leaderships and two authorities, as its people continue to suffer the unending hardship of an economic blockade and a security breakdown.

Israel has strived for many years to defeat the Palestinian cause but could not achieve that aim, as the cause has constantly been an important issue on the agenda of the international community. However, the war between Hamas and Fateh has proved highly favorable for Israel’s historic endeavor, as it could achieve its aims with the help of Palestinians themselves, and by virtue of Palestinian weapons and not its own. The open, bloody and unprecedented conflict in the Palestinian Territories is an insult to the pure blood spilt for the higher Palestinian cause throughout its history, and to all the sacrifices made to keep its torch alight. It has undermined all hopes that had been placed on a day in the near future when a Palestinian state would arise as the culmination of years of sacrifice and struggle.

The recent meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo has called for the restoration of the situation in Gaza to the one prevailing before Hamas wrested control of the territory, and has called for dialogue as a means for finding a solution to the differences between the different Palestinian parties. If there is hope of preventing a slide into the abyss, and to save what can be saved, Fatah and Hamas movements must respond to this call as it is the only inescapable framework through which they could salvage this crisis. To use weapons as a mean of arbitration could only lead to an endless orgy of blood and violence. Arabs also should act assertively in order to protect the bleeding Palestinian Territories, and to rescue the just cause that has always been their mainstay since 1948. They should prevent it from being tampered with or be the subjected to narrow interests or wrong calculations.