Thu. Sep 20 2018

It is not a good start for the Palestinian reconciliation!

Oct 05 2017

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The writer discusses proofs that Fatah movement, which is supported by Israel, the Arabs states and the West, is not serious regarding the Palestinian reconciliation. 


For more than two weeks on Hamas’ dissolution of the administrative committee in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian residents of the besieged enclave have been waiting for the Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to cancel his punishing measures taken against them, as well as waiting for the National Unity Government to take up its responsibilities and start offering its services properly to its citizens.

Abbas, who is also the top Fatah and PLO leader, has always claimed that the formation of the administrative committee in Gaza was the reason why he took several grave punishing measures against Gaza. The same claim made by the Head of the National Unity Government Rami Hamadallah, who has always refused to take up his responsibilities in Gaza unless Hamas dissolves the administrative committee.

However, most Palestinians in Gaza, as well as writers and monitors from Palestine and abroad were skeptical about it and some described is as not more than a lies, but Hamas insisted that it is going on seriously towards ending the division and achieving a national reconciliation.

“We will make many shocking compromises for the sake of ending the division and achieving the reconciliation,” the top Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya al-Sinwar said in a private meeting with his movement’s members trying to convince them with what they saw as “useless concessions” to Fatah.

Stressing that his movement is not going back or would not kneel down to any of the storms that would divert the course of the reconciliation efforts, he said: “We will break the neck of anyone from Hamas who tries to undermine the efforts of the reconciliation.” In fact, some Hamas members and leaders considered him violated the discussion norms and reviewed him regarding his strong language, but they remained silent in order to let him go with Fatah, Abbas and Hamadallah to the end.

For me, I was wondering what Abbas would do with Hamas regarding the resistance weapons, which Hamas’ leaders have several times stressed that they were never put on the table for discussion, but Abbas and his aides have several times said that they would crackdown on them.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper saying that Abbas had stipulated three conditions for reconciliation. First, that Hamas dismantle its military wing; second, that there be no foreign involvement in the administration of the Gaza Strip; and third, that any money for restoration and development only be channeled through the Palestinian government.

Speaking to Egyptian CBC TV, Abbas said he was not in a hurry to cancel the punishing measures against Gaza and he would never cancel them except when he impose his sovereignty over every corner in Gaza even Hamas weapons. “If a Fatah member in West Bank had illegal weapon, I would arrest him,” he said. “This what I would do in Gaza. There must be only one legal weapon,” he added. For Abbas and the PA, the legal weapon is the PA’s which is has been using to deter the Palestinian resistance since Oslo.

In a sign of return to media clash, Head of Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh replied on Abbas’ remarks about the resistance arms. “No one dare to touch the resistance arms; however, we do not reject bringing all the state arms together under the National Unity Government,” he said in an interview with the Egyptian journalist Amro Adeeb.

Yet, a senior Hamas official told me that the Egyptians would never accept other troops rather than Hamas militants to guard the borders with Egypt and Israel, but I have always thought that this issue along with the security arrangements in Gaza would be the challenge which would explode the reconciliation.

Regardless to the reason why this happened, but during the time when it controlled the Gaza Strip, Hamas militants proved that they are able to control the borders very strictly, compared to years of the PA troops who were unable to keep the borders stable.

After the visit of the National Unity Government to Gaza and holding its meeting there, the intentions became clearer. When Hamadallah entered into Gaza through Eretz Crossing, his ignored all the security and protocol arrangements made by the security services in Gaza. His bodyguards banned the Deputy Interior Minister in Gaza Tawfiq abu-Na’eem away from standing beside Hamadallah when he told a press conference.

It is true that the culture, agriculture and endowment ministers from Ramallah visited their ministries in Gaza and met with Hamas officials there, but these ministries are not at all an issue because they are not sovereign ministries and there had been a kind of cooperation between Gaza and Ramallah before the dissolution of the administrative committee in Gaza.

During the ministerial council meeting in its office in Gaza, Gazans were waiting before their TV screens for resolutions that would facilitate their life. Some people gathered at the door of the office to hear the news from the mouth of the horse.

When the meeting ended and the government Spokesman Yousef al-Mahmoud told a news conference, they felt disappointed. He said that the government would that Hamadallah asked his ministers to prepare comprehensive reports about the needs of their ministries during the meeting.

He denied that there had been punishing measures against Gaza. “These are not punishing measures, but procedures taken in the frame of the division and they will be treated later one,” he said. “This will be decided after the expected meetings between Fatah and Hamas in Cairo,” he said.

But Fatah leader, who is in charge of the reconciliation file, Azzam al-Ahmad made it clear that his movement is to ignore Hamas officials in the ministries if the government would take up its responsibilities in Gaza. “The Unity Government would take up its responsibilities in Gaza without the interference of any factions,” he said, but meanwhile, he reiterated that Fatah officials would hold certain positions in the government institutions in Gaza.

Like what the Palestinians have been waiting regarding the resolution of the final status issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Gazans are expected to continue waiting for lifting Abbas’ punishing measures and the government to facilitate their life until the end of the talks regarding the ‘final status issues,’ including security, employees, Abbas’ punishments, etc… 

Motasem A Dalloul

Motasem A Dalloul

Motasem Ahmed Dalloul is a staff writer at the Middle East Monitor. He is a specialist in the Middle East affairs.

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