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What Palestinian reconciliation entails

Oct 29,2017 - Last updated at Oct 29,2017

Positive signs have appeared in the Palestinian political landscape over the last few weeks, including Hamas’ interest in advancing reconciliation and potentially reaching a deal that could be the result of regional developments.

Several changes in the region have increased pressure on the Hamas leadership to consider relinquishing power in Gaza and adopting a more conciliatory approach.

The Muslim Brotherhood suffered greatly from the increased possibility of being listed as a terrorist group, and Turkey’s political support has decreased since the military coup attempt in July 2015.

Qatar also became more insular, with a reduced ability to support Hamas due to internal issues and the need to find a way through its own crisis.

The elevation of Yahya Sinwar to the position of prime minister is significant, given the fact that he was the leader of Hamas’ military wing, the Izz Al Din Al Qassam Brigades.

Sinwar, one of the co-founders of Hamas’ military apparatus, has a strategy aiming at improving the lives and conditions of the people in Gaza. This priority has created a new approach to the situation.

He is also a childhood friend of Mohammad Dahlan, the leader of Fateh in Gaza, which has clearly played a role in his ability to open a dialogue and potentially achieve a lasting arrangement.

As Qatar’s and Turkey’s influence decreased in Gaza, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE increased their roles.

The Emiratis have backed Mohammad Dahlan and Fateh, which means that change in Palestine is possible with Egyptian political support and Emirati and Saudi funds, which is likely to have prompt and positive impact on the people of Gaza.

This new set of circumstances has created the opportunity for the Palestinian Authority to seek reconciliation.

While these first steps towards reconciliation are important and their impact will be seen on the ground in Gaza, and can present a model for change in the West Bank, none of it is possible without a supportive position from Israel.

So far, it seems that Israel is on board, but continued consensus and support is imperative for successful reconciliation.

The reconciliation could herald a new chapter in Palestinian politics as Palestinians push for change at all levels, from internal party politics to aid and development and potentially new leaders to take Palestine into the future.

From Jordan’s perspective, while Gaza is more closely linked to Egypt, success in Gaza will likely lead to similar changes in the West Bank, so Jordan should find a way to be involved in order to shape the process and have some control over the imminent changes in the West Bank. 

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