Husam Itani
Dar Al-Hayat
October 19, 2009 - 12:00am

The path taken by the Palestinian reconciliation suggests that the current situation between the struggling parties requires much more than reconciliation. Indeed, the difficulties that obstruct ratifying the Egyptian agreement are only a sample of how deeply rooted and difficult the disagreement is between the components of Palestinian political society.

Indeed, the aforementioned agreement is almost a list of issues taken for granted, basic issues and procedures that should not arouse disagreement between those who call for the same cause. Yet it is, in spite of this, facing countless difficulties before bearing the signatures of the two factions who continue to cling to the Palestinian Cause. The most recent of such difficulties was the Hamas movement discovering the “treason” of the Palestinian Authority’s leadership, which recklessly agreed to postpone looking into the Goldstone Report before the United Nations Human Rights Council, proving to Mr. Khaled Mashal that the Palestinian Authority “did not deserve his trust”, especially as the issue regards a report in which Hamas when it first examined it saw an equation between oppressor and victim, rejecting it completely and absolutely before its “blessings” in terms of inflaming and rekindling Palestinian disputes became apparent.

Regardless of this kind of naïve instrumental use of momentary developments, one can only express fear over the rift between the Palestinians reaching a phase the danger of which far exceeds disagreement over the date on which to ratify an agreement or over a reconciliation prepared and supervised by a third party. We are faced with two independent views towards the Palestinian Cause, as one could conclude that we have become closer to two separate causes, in which one people is facing two kinds of occupation, suffering and difficulties. In fact, the number of “Palestinian Causes” would rise if we were to add to what the inhabitants of the interior face the misery of exile and its refugee camps.

The first view, very briefly summarized, is that adopted by the Palestinian Authority and the main currents within Fatah, based on the possibility of reaching, through negotiations and without changing the current balance of power, a historical settlement with Israel, one that would ensure that the Palestinians obtain a minimum of rights based on establishing an independent state and resolving the problems of the refugees, settlement-building and Jerusalem in a satisfactory manner. According to this view, violence has fulfilled its role historically as a means which a reality that is no more then dictated resorting to.

As for the second view, it originates in strong-toned rhetoric and discourse, in calls to constant mobilization and in finding the way out of the Palestinian national predicament by heading towards extreme solutions based on excessive violence, its advocates lacking the power necessary to bring it out of narrow internal conflicts and into the battlefield against the occupation, as experiences that are yet to pass have indicated. Those who take such stances will accept nothing less than an irrevocable and complete victory that would return Palestine, from the river Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea, to its historical inhabitants.

Between the two views, there is a third, conciliatory (or wrap-around) view that calls for changing the balance of power and keeping the option of returning to armed struggle, without completely departing from the course of negotiations. Yet advocates of this view are the least significant and influential on the field of the conflict.

Without being led into a detailed refutation of each of the above views, one could claim that, in light of the issue of the stances of their advocates towards a solution differing to such an extent, it is no longer possible for them to agree on managing their daily affairs or to share portfolios within a national unity government cabinet, in a region plagued by a tendency towards monopoly and exclusion. In order to resolve their predicament, the struggling parties only have left to fall into the trap of a worse predicament, that of civil war or that of complete rupture of relations and of behaving as two peoples living two causes or more.


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