Palestinian Stand on the Peace Proposal

  • 9 May 2007

The biggest damage to the Palestinian cause in recent years has come from the disagreements and feuds among Palestinians over the peace process and related proposals proffered by various parties within and outside the region. Israel has exploited these internal Palestinian differences to ward off international pressure on fulfilling its commitment to the peace process, by repeatedly throwing the ball in a divided Palestinian court. The Palestinian stance on “the security plan,” recently proposed by the US clearly explains the situation. While Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) endorsed the plan, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and his Hamas party rejected it, reviving a period of tension and strife between the government and the presidency, after a short period of rapprochement. These differences could jeopardize Palestinian unity government and revive the period of domestic unrest and conflict.

The divided Palestinian stance would offer Israel the chance to hide its own reservations about the "security plan," despite the fact that the proposal merely concerns limited procedural matters requiring mutual trust and does not introduce any fundamental changes to the peace process. It is known that the Olmert government has always been uncooperative toward any peace proposal, whether proffered by Arabs or the US. Presently, the Israeli government is in the midst of an intense internal crisis because of a recent special inquiry report on the Lebanese war debacle, which has galvanized extremist elements at the Israeli political scene. In its endeavor to stall peace efforts, Israel has always made excuses, such as the absence of a trustworthy Palestinian peace partner. Similarly, Israel can now hide behind the disagreement among Palestinians on “the security plan,” about which even Israel has serious reservations. The nature of the Palestinian stance on the peace plans and initiatives—whether positive or negative—is not as important as the unity and consistency of their stance in front of Israel and the whole world. In the face of a unified stance, Israel would be unable to manipulate the situation and the relevant parties would not be able to ignore it. Israel is the main hindrance in the peace process. Still, it invariably manages to transfer the pressure and criticism to the other party. Unless Palestinians agree on a unified vision for peace, Israel will be successful in evading peace.