Palestinian Reconciliation at a Standstill

  • 27 June 2010

Even as Israel is continuing its aggression towards Palestinians, is going ahead with its Jerusalem settlement plans and its army is raiding the Gaza Strip – killing two Palestinians on Friday – reconciliation among Palestinian factions continues to be at a standstill. Hopes of such an agreement taking shape in the near future were dashed after Hamas announced recently that it will not sign the Egyptian reconciliation document unless all its reservations are taken into consideration. It was expected that both Fatah and Hamas will overcome their differences in the interest of national reconciliation and will together capitalize on the growing international anger against Israel as groundswell of international public opinion can push it towards peace.

Certain initiatives taken in recent times suggested that the two factions were heading towards reconciliation especially after Fatah leader Nabil Shaath’s visit to the Gaza Strip. The President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmood Abbas then decided to assign a large delegation – comprising leaders from the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Fatah Central Committee – to go to Gaza and sort out problems so that a consensus could be reached. There was also a semblance of consensus emerging with their bid to show a united front against some Israeli decisions. This was evident in a joint demonstration held by the members of the two movements and coming together of different political factions on one stage to denounce the Israeli decision on the deportation of Palestinians from the West Bank.

On the other hand, Israel has faced severe condemnation in recent times and there has been a strong international campaign following its criminal attack on the Freedom Flotilla. Growing international calls have also been made for the need to immediately lift all Israeli embargoes on Gaza. This represents a great opportunity for the Palestinian people to formulate a unified in the interest of the Palestinian people and make a unified call for a just and lasting solution. However, ironically the Palestinian side has wasted this opportunity while Israel, which once appeared to be facing international isolation, soon moved to circumvent pressure being applied on it. This reached such a point that Tel Aviv even accused the Palestinian side of hindering the peace process. When the whole world is confronting Israel and asking it to freeze its colony-building plans in Jerusalem, the Palestinian factions, with Fatah and Hamas movements at the helm, still cannot end their disputes. They should now make all efforts possible to achieve national reconciliation and collectively challenge Israel. This will give them an ideal platform to capitalize on the growing international anger against Israel and its policies on Palestine.