Israeli Intransigence and Palestinian Split

  • 23 December 2008

All indicators suggest that the Gaza Strip might be facing a difficult phase at the security and humanitarian fronts, because the truce between Hamas and Israel ended a few days ago. This could usher in a phase of dangerous conflict between both sides. Efforts for bringing about reconciliation and compromise between Hamas and Fatah have still not been able to break the ice and the chasm between the two sides is expanding with time and taking on new and more complex shapes. International agencies, like the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), have been sounding the alarm on the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza in the wake of the scarcity of essential supplies due to Israel's ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip that has even prevented the arrival of vital food aid into the territory. Moreover, the current political scene in Israel has exposed the harsh attitude of Israeli leaders towards Hamas. Difficult times might lie ahead for the people of Gaza, as the front-runners in elections for the Prime Minister's position next February—Benjamin Netanyahu and Tzipi Livni— have committed themselves to toppling the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip, which confirms the fact that the voices of radicalism and intransigence are crying hoarse on the Israeli side, when it comes to dealing with Hamas and Palestinians in general.

This difficult situation in the Gaza Strip threatens to take on a dangerous dimension, which requires all the Palestinian parties—especially Hamas because it controls the Gaza Strip and is witness to the suffering of its people—a high level of wisdom in resolving differences because the coming period requires solidarity and unity of Palestinians and the necessity to rise above differences and individual interests, so that the radical and intransigent elements in Israel are not given the chance to execute their bloody designs on Gaza—plans that are aggressive and expansionist and pursue policies of deprivation and collective punishment, while Palestinian forces remain preoccupied with internal differences and strife.

Despite the obstacles confronting Arabs in bringing Hamas and Fatah closer or in preventing Israel from attacking Gaza, such efforts are continuing as Arabs are aware of the dangers of a potentially explosive situation flaring up between Hamas and Israel. It is important that a suitable response follows these actions and efforts, so that Palestinians in Gaza do not pay the price of internal Palestinian differences between Hamas and Fatah, and a possible conflict between Hamas and Israel does not ensue.