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Defining political unity

April 27, 2014 at 3:32 pm

The announcement that Fatah and Hamas will be embarking upon reconciliation has raised the ire of Israel and the US. As the formation of an interim unity government within five weeks moves towards a possible implementation, rhetoric of peace mingled with renewed Israeli airstrikes upon Gaza, while the US considered terminating funding for the Palestinian Authority.

Statements by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman portray the distorted concept of “peace” according to the settler-colonial state’s motives. According to the Times of Israel, Netanyahu stated: “Tonight, as talks were still ongoing about the extension of peace negotiations, Abbas chose Hamas and not peace. Whoever chooses Hamas doesn’t want peace.”

Lieberman also attempted to amalgamate the unity process with the probable dissolution of the US-brokered negotiations. “It’s impossible to make peace with both Israel and Hamas, a terror organisation that calls for the destruction of Israel.”

If prioritised to reflect and anticipate Palestinian needs, leadership unity may prove to be a formidable obstacle for Israel. Both Netanyahu and Lieberman have misinterpreted peace according to Israel’s expansionist agenda and revulsion of Palestinian resistance. The PA’s acquiescence to Israel and imperialism has served the settler-colonial state’s aspirations well, resulting in a probable irreversible fragmentation of territory. Nevertheless, projecting Israel’s definition of peace upon the PA reflects the necessity of retaining a Palestinian negotiator who can serve as both official representation and collaborator.

Should reconciliation be implemented upon the recognised legitimacy of resistance against colonial violence, Israel’s duplicitous peace propaganda will diminish as it fails to impose restrictions and demands upon Palestinian resistance and its implementation. The rhetoric of choice between Israel and Hamas would take a natural inclination towards a choice of self-determination and assertion of Palestinian legitimacy.

The ideology behind the reconciliation agreement however remains ambiguous. As a vast concept which necessitates cohesion between a multitude of social and political factors, one major concern would be the foundations upon which such an agreement was reached and the ramifications upon legitimate resistance embodied by Palestinians. In rethinking current political allegiances, the central issue is whether the unity government will be able to embark upon consistency in recognising settler-colonialism; the impediment to establishing a Palestinian state.

Reported only by Haaretz so far, senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub has allegedly declared that Hamas “is obliged to uphold Abu Mazen’s [Abbas] policy”. Speaking about reconciliation with Hamas, Rajoub said: “We wouldn’t have been prepared – or able – to sign a reconciliation agreement without it being clear to all the Palestinian factions that we are leading our nation to a two-states-for-two-nations solution.”

If the statement represents the essence of the reconciliation agreement, it signals a departure from the politics which shaped the resistance movement since its inception. The two-state solution remains a major compromise which does not recognise the consequences pertaining to the historical process of settler-colonialism in Palestine. A discussion based upon the 1967 borders diminishes the centrality of the Nakba. As an alternative to the PA’s enduring compliance with Israel and the US, Hamas represented an embodiment of the struggle that called for liberation and the reclamation of land. If the unity government is based upon a framework divested of liberation, Palestinians risk an additional treachery in the collective struggle for land and memory.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.