A professor of political science in Egypt has said that although the weapons of the resistance groups in occupied Palestine are known to be targets for the Israelis, they should not also be targets of the Palestinians. Professor Hassan Nafea of Cairo University made his comments as details of the "deal of the century" start to leak from the White House and Palestinian reconciliation efforts begin.
Nafea's point about weapons was an apparent response to the rumours that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is seeking to implement his "sacred" security coordination with Israel on the people of the Gaza Strip; this was hinted at by his demand for "unified weapons" last week.
Despite the fact that the PA has been given control of the Gaza Strip border crossings, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah claimed that they cannot become operational unless the security issue is resolved, in anticipation of the factions' meetings that were held in Cairo last Tuesday. The meetings were dominated by Fatah's vision that focused on "empowering" the government instead of key issues such as the Palestine Liberation Organisation and the government of national unity, according to Palestinian officials who attended them.
"Hamas must help the Palestinian Authority to ensure that weapons will not be used again to achieve any internal political goals," Nafea told Falastin newspaper. "It is crucial that this issue is addressed with utmost patriotism and the national interest is raised above all matters, especially the interests of the factions."
Last month, Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the Hamas Political Bureau, pointed out that the weapons of the government, the police and the government security authorities are certainly "unified" in that sense. "There are also the Resistance weapons," he added, "as long as there is Zionist occupation of Palestinian land. Our people have the right to own their weapons and to resist this occupation regardless of the form that resistance might take."
The sanctions that the PA has imposed on Gaza since March, in addition to the 10-year-old Israeli-led siege, are still in place, despite the authority's control over the ministries and border crossings. This is causing untold hardship.
"Starving people," insisted Prof. Nafea, "or depriving them of basic necessities is illegal and a violation of international law. Even in war, such necessities must be provided and not used as a political tool."
It is more than two months since Hamas dissolved the Administration Committee in Gaza and invited Ramallah to take over the government of the territory. Egypt acted as a mediator in the move.
Washington's threat to refuse to renew the licence for the PLO's office in the US capital is, according to Nafea, being used as a means to get the PA to go back to negotiations with the Israelis. "That threat will remain in order to push for an agreement on Israel's terms — the so-called 'deal of the century' — that Donald Trump wants to achieve." The PA, he said, should not lay itself open to such blackmail. "It should never accept US conditions, even if this leads to the closure of the PLO office there."
The closure of the office would not prevent the authority from carrying out its "real tasks to defend the Palestinian cause", and would not affect the PLO. "It would actually make it free to take what it deems to be appropriate action to defend the Palestinian cause on various international levels."
Israeli reports suggest that the details of the "deal of the century" include a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders subject to land swaps to enable the major settlement blocs to become part of Israel. The Egyptian professor said that Israel's vision looks very similar to Trump's. The PA should reject this altogether, unless Israel is prepared to implement UN Resolutions with regard to Palestinian refugees. "It is in the PA's interests to resist US pressure, and maintain Palestinian unity as upheld by the authority and Hamas."
In conclusion, Hassan Nafea warned that Israel is "on its way to turning Jerusalem into a completely Jewish city." He pointed out that the issue of Jerusalem is even more important to Israel than its borders. In his opinion, Israel will never allow East Jerusalem to be the capital of an independent State of Palestine.