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What's the difference between Fatah and Hamas' future Palestinian state?

May 2, 2017 at 7:44 pm

Head of Hamas’ political bureau Khaled Meshaal announces the movement’s new Charter on 2 May 2017. [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Khaled Meshaal, the head of the political bureau of the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas, announced yesterday evening a new document of principles that outline the movement’s positons towards major issues relating to the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

One of the most prominent articles of this document is the proposal of the interim solution of the conflict based on the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders – a term used to refer to the parts of historic Palestine which Israel occupied during the 1967 war.

This aroused the anger of secular Palestinian movement Fatah which has undertaken to resolve the conflict “peacefully” since the early 1970s, starting with contacts between late Ali Hassan Salameh with the CIA and ending with face-to-face meetings with officials from the Israeli occupation.

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Fatah’s official spokesman in the occupied West Bank, Usama Al-Qawasmeh, severely criticised Hamas’ 1967 proposal considering it the same as his movement’s proposal which was announced in 1988. He said Hamas’ previous rejection and criticism of his movement’s proposal was a mistake, calling for the Islamic movement to apologise to the Palestinian people.

In fact, this hasty response, which was announced almost before the announcement of Hamas’ new document had been finished, is inaccurate.

Hamas’ proposal of a state along the 1967 borders is not new. The movement’s founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin said that his movement had this proposal in sight before it was officially launched in 1987. Even if Fatah officials are unaware of Yassin’s assertions, the global community, including the famous British journalist Robert Fisk, are aware.

In its new Charter, Hamas does concede any centimetre of historic Palestine and it is not based on recognising the right of the Zionists to the land which they violently usurped after killing and displacing its original owners.

Palestinian Policemen [Mohammed Asad - Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian Policemen [Mohammed Asad – Anadolu Agency]

Hamas’ proposal does not include giving up its arms; however, it believes that any kind of resistance, including peaceful resistance, could help regain the land and return the displaced Palestinians to their homes.

If Hamas, with the help of the international community, could attain a full sovereign Palestinian state on the land occupied in 1967, it would accept it with its insistence to maintain its arms. Unlike Fatah’s 1967 Palestinian state, Hamas’ proposal stipulates that the Palestinians are free to have their own crossings, airports and seaport.

The movement’s proposal does not oblige the future Palestinian generations to stick to the 1967 Palestinian state. As it does not give up the right to resist the occupation, future generations are free to deal with the issue based on their own reality and interests. Its solution appears to be an interim one, not open ended.

It has also said that it will not agree to or partake in security coordination with the occupation. This coordination in the occupied West Bank has led to the arrest and targeting of Palestinian fighters in response of Israel’s requests. Instead, Hamas said will support the resistance movement.

The state the movement spoke of does not forego the Palestinian Right of Return which it believes is the intrinsic right of all Palestinian refugees no matter where they are now based.

Most of all, Hamas stressed that none of its proposals bear fruit out without national agreement amongst the Palestinian factions, including its rival Fatah. This is one of the many reasons why Hamas’ terms for a state along the 1967 border differ greatly from the terms of Fatah.

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UNESCO Headquarters []

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