Priorities Absent From Palestinian Agenda

  • 27 July 2009

In time of increasing international isolation of Israel—with the continuation of differences between the government in Tel Aviv and the US President over building of colonies and the growing international opposition to Israeli policies—divisions still afflict the Palestinian scene with constant wars of words infesting the atmosphere, not only between rival Fatah and Hamas‬ members, but also within the leadership of Fatah movement itself. Accusations have been made by the secretary general of Fattah, Farouq Qaddumi, against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and former head of security Muhammed Dahlan of involvement in a plot to assassinate late President Yasser Arafat. ‬There have seen several positive developments in the last few days, which could be considered as beneficial to the Palestinian cause, if it is properly availed of. Several countries that have friendly relations with Israel have summoned its ambassadors to protest against the continued building of colonies in East Jerusalem. Several reports, like the one issued by ‘Amnesty International, and from within Israel itself, have been critical of the actions of Israeli army during the Gaza war in January this year, and have exposed the magnitude of the crimes committed in this war.

But the problem here lies in the absence of a‬ Palestinian camp, capable of fully availing these developments to serve the Palestinian cause. If previous events are considered ‘wasted’ opportunities, there are challenges that beset the Palestinian cause that do not receive sufficient attention from Palestinian forces to the implementation of the Netanyahu scheme of Judaization of the city of Jerusalem, through its announcement this month to change the names of the Arab townships of the city and retain their Hebrew names only, in addition to rejecting the right to return of Palestinian refugees, and even considering the deportation of the 1948 Palestinians again, along with continues colony-building activities in Jerusalem

The strange paradox here is that Israel, which seems to be experiencing international isolation, proceeds with the implementation of its policies and schemes undeterred by any criticism, but to the contrary, is successful in fomenting Palestinian differences, ‮ ‬not in the implementation of schemes related to Jerusalem only, but to prove that there is no Palestinian partner to negotiate with.

Meanwhile, Palestinian forces seem to be totally unmindful of the serious issues facing the Palestinian cause. It is important to stop the war of words between the Palestinian factions as urgent priorities in order not to let the whole case drift into abeyance. If there is an urgent need to speed up comprehensive national reconciliation among Palestinians to deny Israel the excuse of absence of a Palestinian partner, and respond to its rapid plans to Judaize the city of Jerusalem and change its Arab features, which is the largest and the most serious by means of the current Israeli government, then there is also a need to formulate unified Palestinian stand that could utilize the positive trend at international level regarding the Palestinian cause and to revitalize the peace process.