Would the Palestinians Reach an Agreement in this Round?

  • 17 May 2009

The new round of inter-Palestinian dialogue started yesterday under the aegis of Egypt. It is the fifth round of talks that takes place amid growing Palestinian, Arab and Islamic hopes that Palestinians—especially Fatah and Hamas—will be able to overcome their differences and agree on the framework of a national program in the near future.

The fifth round of Palestinian dialogue has become the focus of attention, particularly as the last four rounds have failed to achieve any noticeable breakthrough on the disputed issues that has triggered a struggle.  Major Arab initiatives are currently under way on more than one level. However, in order to propel the peace process, the first requirement would be to evolve a unified Palestinian position that can be justified and presented to international powers, spearheaded by the US. Israel is trying to be evasive on the references of the peace process in order to subvert it and to go back on its commitments, especially those related to the “two-state solution”. It is trying to promote its own highly skewed and distorted version of peace settlement to the international community, especially to Europe and the US. One of the important signs in this context is the fifth round of the Palestinian dialogue which began in the backdrop of a European tour by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liebermann for promoting an extreme and convoluted vision of peace, a day before the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to the US capital for the selfsame reason. This puts a major responsibility on talks between Palestinian parties in Cairo because the protraction of their dispute will encourage Israel to carry out its plan of jeopardizing the peace process. It will put the Arab world and those international powers that support the right of Palestinians to establish an independent state, in an embarrassing position as the prospective Palestinian state is currently divided between Gaza and the West Bank geographically, and between "Hamas" and "Fatah" politically, and the proponents of the cause in a state of internecine struggle.

Unity in confronting Israel’s scheme to Judaize Jerusalem, which is considered the biggest and most dangerous threat, solidarity to form unified Palestinian attitude in the service of the Palestinian cause so that the peace process is activated and propelled, and assistance for Palestinians who are enduring harsh living conditions in Gaza Strip: all these goals should gain priority among the current Palestinian national forces. These goals should be above private interests, irrespective of their validity and justifications, because the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims cannot overcome internal Palestinian strife, as several daunting challenges confront the cause. The several Palestinian parties confront a dangerous test in the backdrop of a decisive historic moment. When negotiating with each other, they have to realize that the Palestinian cause is passing through a decisive historical moment, which can ill-afford the luxury of debate and dispute among its proponents.