Pales­tini­ans are stronger to­gether

It is heartening that af­ter a decade of di­vi­sion, Fatah and Hamas are ready to unite against Is­rael

Gulf News - - OPINON -

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.

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