Palestinian Divisions and Difficult Challenges

  • 30 September 2009

There is no doubt that the announcement of the final agreement on Palestinian reconciliation will be presented by Egypt to various Palestinian parties for signatures in October, representing an important development on the road to closing the file on conflict within the occupied Palestinian territories, a conflict that has led to serious divisions at the political level, and even at the geographical level between the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This has harmed the Palestinian case at the regional and international levels, and has exhausted the efforts of its parties. In this respect, Israel has been the main beneficiary as it has worked to exploit them in order to pass its plans aimed at the liquidation of the case, and imposition of its distorted vision on peace.

Differences between Fatah and Hamas movements have made Cairo postpone the scheduled date for the signing of the reconciliation agreement twice. However, indicators relevant to the communications that took place recently note that there has been a positive change that could lead to the signing of an agreement next October, especially with announcement by the two movements to respond to Egyptian proposals.

The coming of Benjamin Netanyahu and his extremist right-wing government to power in Israel has pushed the peace process to a critical stage, and imposed more difficult challenges on the Palestinian side. Netanyahu has introduced dangerous new ideas that would deprive the peace process of its substance, and destroy the foundations and references, particularly with regards to the Jerusalem situation and the settlement issue, in addition to the Jewish character of the state of Israel. The Israeli government insists on continuing its colony-building activities, despite international pressure, along with its plans of Judaizing Jerusalem and imposing a fait accompli on Palestinians, and by allowing extremists to threaten and desecrate the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque. It has also called on the Palestinian side to recognize the supposed Jewish character of the Jewish state, has denied the right to return of Palestinian refugees, and has stressed that the future Palestinian state will be demilitarized. These Israeli extremist positions require Palestinian powers to resolve their disputes irrespective of the intensity of differences, because in order for Palestinians to safeguard their cause they would have to maintain national unity which will restore momentum to the Palestinian struggle, and allow the Arab world to build an effective strategy to protect Palestinian rights and defend them at the international arena.

Palestinians and Arabs are looking forward to meeting of Palestinian parties in Cairo next month, which will be an occasion to reach an agreement on the strong foundations for the Palestinian action which will restore matters to normalcy, and end the political and geographical separation between the West Bank and Gaza, taking into account the long period that negotiation and consultation, and the efforts made by various Arab parties to help achieve an agreement.