Just as Hamas outlined its conditions for participating in the forthcoming Palestinian unity government, France is escalating its interference by seeking assurances from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that the preconditions outlined by the international community and, notably, the Middle East Quartet, will remain in place. Thus, once again, we face the probable exclusion of Hamas, rendering the concept of Palestinian political unity more farcical than ever.
The Islamic Resistance Movement has insisted upon the removal of current Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, the rejection of the recognition of Israel and an implementation of the reconciliation agreement as preconditions for participating in the unity government.
Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that Abbas is insisting upon the internationally-recognised conditions. Speaking in Jerusalem, Fabius declared, “We must both guarantee Israel’s security and at the same time given Palestinians the right to have a state.” The latter was uttered almost as a reluctant afterthought.
Fabius claimed that Abbas told him that the national unity government, “could only include women and men who recognise Israel, renounce violence and who are in agreement with the principles of the (Mideast) Quartet.” Marginalising Hamas completely, therefore, “suits us perfectly,” the French minister concluded. How, though, would the result be a “unity” government, if a major player like Hamas is deliberately excluded?
As far as the international community and the PA are concerned, Palestinian unity should be bludgeoned and ripped from its essence, thus enabling its narrative to be dictated by entities whose aim is to see Israel’s colonisation process complete. Hence, despite laments about “waiting”, as expressed by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Al-Maliki in Malta, the PA’s alleged reconciliation process is grounded firmly in leniency, the extension of timeframes, manipulation of resistance and collaboration with pro-Zionist countries such as France. The government in Paris, it seems, continues to revel in its role that combines drafting UN Security Council resolutions with furthering Israel’s agenda.
With Hamas once again embarking upon the definition of strict parameters for participating in the unity government, it is clear that the resistance movement has recognised anti-colonial struggle as the basis for Palestinian unity; it’s a return to what has defined Palestinians since the start of the Zionist colonisation project. Having already voiced opposition to France’s perpetual interference in Palestinian politics and the relentless pursuit of the two-state compromise, Hamas is clearly giving priority to the Palestinian narrative. Speaking to Anadolu News Agency, senior Hamas leader Ismail Radwan emphasised, “We notify everybody never to give a positive response to any sort of bids that would flout Palestinians’ rights and tenets, including the right of return and the right to the land.”
However, Hamas should also aim for more coherence within the movement, as well as stipulate clearly its repudiation of the 1967 borders, if anti-colonial struggle is to be completely embraced and implemented. There have been several instances since the formation of the former Palestinian unity government in 2014 when Hamas fluctuated between different assertions in an attempt to retain a hold on both resistance and diplomacy, resulting in a scenario where the latter brought about the movement’s marginalisation due to the bias of the political actors involved, such as Egypt. Unity and reconciliation as dictated by the PA and its allies have failed. However, Hamas has been presented with an opportunity to determine unity and resistance as a Palestinian right. Continued refusal to participate in Abbas’ dangerous compromises would define Hamas’s renewed consistency and commitment to the anti-colonial struggle.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.