A his­tory of Pales­tine’s failed rec­on­cil­i­a­tion

Oc­cu­pied Pales­tine has a com­plex his­tory of ruler­ship and con­trol, which has deep­ened with the phys­i­cal and po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ven­tion of Is­rael in Arab ter­ri­to­ries

The Daily News Egypt - - Politics - By Ad­ham Youssef

As 80 years have passed from the im­pe­ri­al­ist de­ci­sion to cre­ate a “na­tional home for the Jewish peo­ple” in Pales­tine by im­ple­ment­ing the in­fa­mous Bal­four Dec­la­ra­tion, lo­cal lead­er­ship in the oc­cu­pied ter­ri­to­ries re­main di­vided, with two main bod­ies sorted in the Ha­mas and Fatah move­ments.

Ha­mas was formed in De­cem­ber 1987 af­ter the first In­tifada, un­der the aus­pices of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood (MB), cre­at­ing one of Pales­tine’s most or­gan­ised Is­lamist en­tity. Mean­while, Fatah had ori­gins with the Pales­tine Lib­er­a­tion Or­gan­i­sa­tion (PLO),which was formed by the Arab League in 1964 with the at­tempt to unite sev­eral move­ments and par­ties, fi­nally be recog­nised as the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Pales­tinian peo­ple.

The strug­gle be­tween the two en­ti­ties can be tracked to March 2006 as Ha­mas formed a gov­ern­ment af­ter win­ning the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions in the be­gin­ning of the year, lead­ing to con­trol­ling the Gaza Strip and a de­te­ri­o­rat­ing diplo­matic re­la­tion with Fatah, Western lead­ers, and some Arab coun­tries. With hopes of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion on the sur­face, a time­line for for­mer at­tempts to rec­on­cil­i­a­tion be­tween the con­flict­ing sides can put a fruit­ful con­text to the on­go­ing po­lit­i­cal manoeuvres.

2006-2007: Ha­mas wins par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, lead­ing to heavy fight­ing with Fatah.An ini­tia­tive in Fe­bru­ary 2007 by late Saudi King Ab­dul­lah Bin Abdul Aziz in Mecca gath­ers rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the two move­ments, lead­ing to agree­ments to stop vi­o­lence, unit­ing ef­forts to counter the Is­raeli oc­cu­pa­tion and to cre­ate a Pales­tinian na­tional unity gov­ern­ment. How­ever, in June of the same year, Ha­mas top­pled Fatah’s gov­ern­ment un­der the lead­er­ship of Mah­moud Ab­bas from the strip, lead­ing to tougher re­stric­tions from Is­rael and a sep­a­ra­tion of power be­tween the be­sieged Gaza Strip and the Western Bank.

2008: In March, the con­flict­ing sides met again in Sanaa,Ye­men.The meet­ing led to the sign­ing of the Sanaa Dec­la­ra­tion be­tween Fatah’s Az­zam Al-Ah­mad and Ha­mas’ Moussa Abu Marzuk, agree­ing to open the di­a­logue and to re­turn to the po­lit­i­cal scene of the pre-2007 vi­o­lence. How­ever, Fatah protested that the agree­ment em­pha­sised di­a­logue rather than form­ing a new gov­ern­ment and recog­nis­ing the pow­ers of the PLO. Ha­mas, on the other hand, made it clear that to recog­nise the PLO will mean to agree to terms is­sued in the 1993 Oslo Ac­cords, which pushed for a two-state so­lu­tion, hence con­tra­dict­ing Ha­mas’ pri­mary po­lit­i­cal ide­ol­ogy that Pales­tine is a Mus­lim ter­ri­tory. In the same year, a new round of talks was planned to take part in Cairo, but Ha­mas de­clined to at­tend, in protest of ar­rests made by Fatah against mem­bers of Ha­mas.

2010-2011: In early 2010, Egyp­tian-me­di­ated talks started to in­clude the two groups over the pos­si­bil­ity of a rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, preach­ing the hold­ing of new elec­tions. How­ever, Ha­mas protested that the sug­ges­tions in­cluded new pres­i­den­tial and par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, and re-plan­ning the se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus, which would fall un­der the con­trol of the Pales­tinian Au­thor­ity. A point of dif­fer­ence also was that Ha­mas wanted the treaty to in­clude that Pales­tini­ans are to con­tinue coun­ter­ing Is­rael’s poli­cies, as op­posed to the Fatah group. In April 2011, the group agrees to sit down to talk in Cairo, months af­ter an up­ris­ing that top­pled for­mer pres­i­dent Hosni Mubarak. In May, they signed a “his­toric” agree­ment, in Egypt’s Gen­eral In­tel­li­gence’s head­quar­ters. The two sides vowed to con­tinue coun­ter­ing Is­raeli poli­cies and have a unity gov­ern­ment. But, on the ground, noth­ing was im­ple­mented.

2012: Ha­mas and Fatah lead­ers agree to im­ple­ment the Cairo Agree­ment in Doha, Qatar.The agree­ment was signed in Fe­bru­ary be­tween Ab­bas and Khaled Me­shaal, and agreed to form a gov­ern­ment with non­po­lit­i­cal agen­das, mainly a cabi­net of au­to­crats and to con­tinue re­sis­tance Is­raeli pres­ence, as well as work on re­con­struct­ing the Gaza Strip and pre­pare for the elec­tions. Dif­fer­ences oc­curred over who will lead the cabi­net and whether the new gov­ern­ment will stay com­mit­ted to the obli­ga­tions done by the PLO, some­thing Ha­mas re­jected. Elec­tions were boy­cotted by Ha­mas, which did not al­low any polls in Gaza, cit­ing vi­o­la­tions and ques­tion­ing the elec­tion’s le­git­i­macy. The elec­tions re­sulted in form­ing the Ra­mal­lah-based unity gov­ern­ment.

2014: Af­ter the ouster of Egyp­tian Is­lamist pres­i­dent Mo­hamed Morsi in July 2013, Egypt sus­pended sup­port to rec­on­cil­i­a­tion at­tempts be­tween Fatah-Ha­mas.The two groups met in April 2014, agree­ing to form a unity gov­ern­ment. No agree­ment was reached as Fatah protested that the Ha­mas Cabi­net re­mains in con­trol of the Gaza strip.

2017: Fol­low­ing the deadly war with Is­rael in 2014, the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian sit­u­a­tion of the Gaza, and the bloody clashes with Is­raeli forces in July 2017, Ha­mas al­lowed in October the Ra­mal­lah-based unity gov­ern­ment to rule over ad­min­is­tra­tive bod­ies, with hope of form­ing a new gov­ern­ment.The talks are spon­sored by Egypt’s in­tel­li­gence.The two sides are to meet in Cairo.

The strug­gle be­tween Ha­mas and Fatah goes back to March 2006

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Egypt

© PressReader. All rights reserved.