Internal Division Exacerbating Palestinian Suffering

  • 12 November 2008

As time passes, Palestinian suffering increases and their situation deteriorates, not only economically but also in all aspects of life and at all domestic and international levels. Every time there is a light at the end of the tunnel of suffering through talk of a comprehensive national dialog that bridges the widening divide, internal divisions and conflicts become more complicated and intertwined, despite the efforts of all parties involved. The Palestinian division between Hamas and Fateh does not only give the chance to Israel to go further in its aggression against the Palestinian territories and to continue its suffocating siege on the Palestinian people, but also weighs its negative effects on the Palestinians on many levels. Internally, the Palestinian economic and human crisis that set in with the Israeli siege since the start of 2007 is becoming more acute and is resulting in more suffering. The shortages in fuel supplies to the Strip affect electricity production, prompting international organizations to warn of the impending danger of deteriorating living conditions. It is paramount that the interest of the Palestinian people be placed above narrow partisan interests and the foreign agendas of internal players. Internationally, defaming the justness of the Palestinian cause is becoming the largest loss inflicted on the Palestinians.

Palestinian suffering has two dimensions. First, there are Israel's continued aggressive practices and oppressive measures in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in which Israeli authorities use blackmail, especially in Jerusalem where they occupy homes illegally in order to vacate the city of its population by force and intend to build Jewish neighborhoods and homes. Second, and more important, is the Palestinian internal division that has been ongoing for a long time and that has negatively affected the Palestinians on all levels.

Ending Palestinian suffering and resisting an occupier that seeks to bite off Palestinians' lands, displace them, shatter their rights, and tamper with their just cause on the international level do not require individual initiatives but a real will that elevates the interest of the people and their rights and preserves their sacred places. Absent such a will, the Palestinians will undoubtedly be the biggest losers while they continue their political and geographical divisions between the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The continued division will enable Israel to execute its settlement plans, assault the land and holy places, and distort the image of the Palestinians as a  people who are not true partners for peace.