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Unity for the sake of the people

Sep 19,2017 - Last updated at Sep 19,2017

Some good news came on Sunday from the Palestinian front: of a move towards reconciliation between the Palestinian Authority, ruling the West Bank, and the Islamic movement Hamas, in charge of beleaguered Gaza.

The split between the two started 10 years ago, in 2007, when Hamas, which had defeated PA’s Fateh movement in parliamentary elections the year before, drove forces loyal to PA President Mahmoud Abbas from Gaza Strip.

The move led to two rival governments: PA, governing autonomous enclaves in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and Hamas, controlling Gaza.

Repeated attempts at reconciliation have since failed.

Now, Hamas says it accepts Fateh’s main demands for ending the split, which are holding general elections in the West Bank and Gaza, and dismantling Hamas’ governing body, the administrative committee, to allow an Abbas-led unity government to take responsibility for the strip.

The decade of hardships suffered by the people of Gaza must have made Hamas realise that the split with the PA does not serve the Palestinian people.

Adding to the hardships, in its attempt to force Hamas to give up control on Gaza, Abbas made things worse for the population of the strip, reducing the supply of electricity to the strip to between two and four hours a day, cutting the salaries of Gaza government employees and preventing Gazans from seeking medical care in the West Bank or in Israel.

A Hamas official said the movement’s decision was taken “as a sign of our good will towards reconciliation”. Fateh welcomed the move as “a step in the right direction”.

The decision, reached after separate talks held by Hamas and Fateh representatives with Egyptian intelligence officials in Cairo, has yet to show its fruit.

One hopes, for the sake of the Palestinians already suffering under the brutal Israeli occupation, that a unity government is indeed formed and that it will assume the awesome responsibility of helping Gazans resume a normal life, as normal as that could be in the open-air prison they are being held in by Israel.

The dire socio-economic conditions of the Gaza people are the result of the Israeli blockade of this coastal enclave, ostensibly brought about by Hamas’ rule.

If Palestinian ranks are unified, Israel could be denied an excuse to carry out its unjust policies towards the Palestinian people as a whole. 

It might even encourage the moribund peace talks with Israel to resume. There will thus be one excuse less for Israel to refuse to discuss with the Palestinians the prospects for peace.


The UN General Assembly session could be the occasion to breathe new life into the elusive peace process.

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