The Importance of a Successful Palestinian National Dialogue

  • 25 August 2008

Both Fatah and Hamas are equally responsible for the failure of the stalled inter-party dialogue for whose success many efforts were made. Despite the internal and external problems and obstacles hindering it, Palestinian national dialogue must advance as the only choice for facing the perilous challenges to the Palestinian cause and for improving its regional and international image that has been damaged by the conflict between the two movements. This dialogue is also important as a means to ensure coexistence that would restore unity to the Palestinian territories and end the division between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

It is useless to talk about long-term, stable, and real peace, or about a viable Palestinian state for all Palestinians, or about a secure and stable Palestinian future if the Fatah-Hamas dispute endures and the West Bank-Gaza rift continues. This is because the two movements are the largest among all the others and the more capable to affect and influence developments on the ground and shape the future.

The Palestinian and other neighboring experiences have shown that playing the time game to cool down internal differences and discord is a losing proposition because the longer unresolved conflicts last, the more acute they become and thus more combustible and tense for all concerned. This has become evident since the rift began between Fatah and Hamas, where animosity increases daily without an agreement or a positive and fundamental movement toward addressing it.

What is required is for the two parties to cease the useless bickering away from the negotiating table about the dispute, its underlying causes, and degrees of responsibility for it. Instead, these should be discussed within a framework for national dialogue in which everyone participates truthfully, sincerely, and with good will in order to arrive at a solution that would end the unhealthy state of the Palestinian people's long struggle for their legitimate and just rights. The Palestinian people in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the diaspora couldn't care less about who's responsible for delaying or obstructing national dialogue. What they care most about is to see their leaders and representatives unified to mitigate conflicts between them through political means and to transform them into positive outcomes and sources of enriching national action with new ideas and choices.

The different Palestinian national forces have a historic responsibility to help the just Palestinian cause in reclaiming its stature after its image was damaged internationally and in the Arab world by struggles between its defenders.