Palestinian National Dialogue is Essential

  • 3 January 2008

Despite some optimism caused by Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas’ call for talks with Hamas movement, hostilities between Fatah and Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip have led to the killings of several Palestinians recently that have dampened all hopes and seriously undermined efforts for the commencement of talks.

The most astonishing fact is that the failure of efforts toward brokering talks between Fatah and Hamas movements and the renewal of fighting between them come at a time when there is a pressing need for national unity. In this context, it should be noted that Israel is launching attacks on the Gaza Strip on a daily basis and expanding its settlement activities despite international condemnation. Israel’s Haaretz newspaper recently published that the Zionist state has announced new plans for building residential projects in West Jerusalem.

The continuation of the internal strife in Palestinian Territories would deepen the divide between both parties, which in time would build into a wall of insurmountable mistrust and suspicion. Therefore, new and complex dimensions will be added to the political situation in Palestine. Any solution will become more difficult to achieve, if no real steps toward a mutual agreement are taken immediately.

If the year 2007 was characterized by the confrontation between Fatah and Hamas movements, by the discord at the Palestinian national level and by the conflicts between brothers, one can hope that the year 2008 will be the year of "Palestinian national unity," and the avoidance of conflict and discord. This could be the year when different Palestinian forces become aware that only Israel benefits from their internecine disputes. In addition, they should be aware that their internal strife depletes Palestinian resources, and that the year 2008 will not a be like any other year for the Palestinian cause, because it will be this year when important matters related to the peace process will be taken up for negotiation, mainly the issues of Jerusalem, borders, and settlements.