Palestinians are stronger together
It is heartening that after a decade of division, Fatah and Hamas are ready to unite against Israel
or the past decade, the Palestinian political groupings of Hamas and Fatah have struggled to set their interests aside and focus on the united goal of ensuring that they do everything within their power to overcome the challenges posed by the Israeli occupation forces. And over that decade of isolation, Israel has used the divide between Hamas and Fatah to further its own nefarious agenda to ensure its continued subjugation of the Palestinian people.
After a series of dialogues and meetings, the leaderships of Fatah and Hamas have now reached an agreement on how to move forward, putting the interests of all Palestinians first, and reconcile the differences that have kept them apart since 2007. But while there is now an agreement in place for a single unity organisation and government for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, there are still challenges that need to be worked through.
Hamas’ control in the Gaza Strip has faced significant challenges, guiding its people through three brutal and murderous military invasions by the Israeli army, who unleashed an advanced weaponry on a largely unprotected citizenry. The aftermath of those invasions have left Gaza a broken land, where nearly two million people live in one of the most densely populated places on the planet with little prospect of employment, economic upturn or any meaningful means to improve their lot.
The emerging agreement between Hamas and Fatah allows for the responsibilities of governing the Gaza Strip to be handed over to the West Bank-based government of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. Some five years ago, there was a similarly outlined accord that did not materialise, but this time around, Hamas and Fatah officials are determined that they will forge a path of Palestinian unity, and have allowed four months for a series of committees to work out the finer details. One will discuss the transferring of Gaza Strip governance and responsibilities, while another will consider the role of civil servants in the Hamas administration based in Gaza and how they will be assimilated into the West Bank framework. Another committee will consider merging 3,000 Palestinian National Authority police personnel into the Gaza Strip’s security and policing set-up.
For too long Palestinians have focused on what divides them, and that has only benefited the forces of occupation. Both Fatah and Hamas need to remember, first and foremost, that the cause of all Palestinians is just. Working together, as one, Israel can be overcome.