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Reconciliation and the consequences of diplomacy

The first meeting of the Palestinian unity government held in Gaza City was embellished with positive rhetoric of reconciliation and rebuilding. Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah addressed a press conference in which priority was given to outlining alleged obsolete rivalry between Fatah and Hamas, as well as the importance of “protecting Gaza” – an issue that warrants pondering especially with regards to the imminent international interference as a condition to rebuilding the enclave.

The Ma’an News Agency has reported Hamdallah as saying: “We have put the years of disagreement behind us and started to realise reconciliation so as to get the international community to stick to its responsibilities of reconstruction, ending the siege, opening all Gaza’s crossings and operating a safe passageway between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”

Additionally, Hamdallah stated that the unity government “will go ahead united to protect Gaza and will never agree to separate Gaza and segregate its residents.” He later echoed Abbas’ alleged gratitude to Palestinians “who protected the dignity of our people and watered the land of Palestine with their blood and legendary steadfastness.”

Beneath the veneer created by the rhetoric, a different reality exists in which decisions are ultimately tied to recognition and acceptance of the two-state conspiracy. As “Protective Edge” fades from the political and diplomatic arena, alluded to only with reference to reconstruction, the focus shifts from resistance to complacency. While discourse invoking terms such as protection may seem inclusive, the underlying repercussion of such terminology is adherence to the imperialist intent of the permanent fragmentation of Palestine.

“Disagreement,” which has also been conveniently rendered an abstract, has become a focal point through which unity can be sustained. Just as the rhetoric of resistance is gradually becoming a peripheral reference, unity divested of responsibility towards the total liberation of Palestine is being modified into a diplomatic endeavour aimed at placating an international audience.

In Hamdallah’s own words, reconciliation is being viewed as a step towards reminding the international community of its responsibilities. Eliminated from the scenario is the constant subjugation to countries that supported Israel’s colonial massacre in Gaza through various means, including rhetoric, funding and the supplying of weapons.

Similar rhetoric was also expressed by Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh, including a reference to Israel’s opposition to the unity government. However, the underlying issue is that of resistance being side-lined to accommodate diplomacy intent on promulgating, even if through apparent necessity, imperialist dictates with regards to reconstruction.

While rebuilding Gaza remains a priority, reconciliation divested of resistance is unlikely to render Palestinian unity a plausible scenario. Based upon the various requirements expected of Palestinians by the international community, it is more likely that Israel’s colonial violence will assert itself through political channels compromised by the relinquishing of Palestinian liberation.

So far, the unity government has simply reiterated its commitment to abiding by restrictive clauses within the backdrop of negotiations and the two-state fabrication. Ending “rivalry” – which might translate to a possible future abandoning of resistance in favour of international recognition – may well provide the perfect opportunity to indirectly guarantee further colonial expansion.

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

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