No sane person can refuse to consider reconciliation between conflicting parties, especially if they are from the same land. It is hard to believe that reconciliation is possible between two parties heading in the opposite direction, even if they prayed for the party going against history, geography and religion to change their path and follow the other. This would at least create a meeting point at which time reconciliation would not only be possible, but an obligation.
I say this after Turkey’s attempts to help reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, after the head of the Security Coordination Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, called on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to support Palestinian reconciliation efforts.
There is no doubt that the Palestinians need reconciliation now more than ever before. The challenges facing them are many and dangerous, and unity within Palestinian ranks is required to confront the conspiracy to liquidate the Palestinian cause led by Donald Trump, Israel and the Zionist Arab regimes. They need unity to confront Arab normalisation with the Zionist enemy, before it escalates and spreads across the entire region.
It is not yet clear what role Turkey can play in Palestinian reconciliation, and whether it will create the appropriate environment conducive to ending the division. Will Turkey bear the cost of this initiative, while the West and the Zionist Arab countries are lying in wait to derail it? Will Ankara succeed where Cairo, Makkah, Moscow and Beirut failed?
It was in such an atmosphere that the leaders of Fatah and Hamas met in Ankara and, after the usual diplomatic niceties, announced an agreement to hold legislative and presidential elections within six months. This was not the first time that such an announcement has been made, but they have never actually taken place. It is as if Palestinian reconciliation means holding elections, although if they are held, they would probably increase the division before and after polling day. So how is reconciliation going to be achieved?
For more than fourteen years, efforts to reconcile the Palestinians have been made by Egypt and other countries. The usual niceties have been followed by talks here and there, resulting in statements, agreements and deals that are immediately filed in the waste paper bin.
We need to understand why such efforts always fail, and for that we need to ask the obvious question: on what basis is reconciliation achieved between ideologically opposite factions? Hamas believes in resistance to Israel’s occupation in order to liberate Palestine, from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. Fatah has deviated from this path, and sold the martyrs’ blood and its own soul in the Oslo market.The Fatah which negotiated in Madrid and Oslo is not the same movement that was founded on the basis of the liberation struggle and resistance. It has been transformed into a movement that criminalises and fights the resistance and arrests its heroes.
This is the painful paradox and unfortunate end to a great struggle. Where once its leaders were valued and respected, they are now gripped by the deadly embrace of Zionism.
Ever since the Palestine Liberation Organisation signed the Oslo Accords with Israel on 13 September, 1993, according to which the occupation state was recognised and the clause to liberate Palestine from the river to the sea was removed from the PLO’s national charter, the Palestinian people have been lost. They have gained nothing but lost almost everything, including more land and more blood. With this cursed agreement, the Israelis have taken what they couldn’t do through war under the umbrella of a “peace process” which has been helpless to stop them from stealing ever more Palestinian land to build illegal settlements. They have also been allowed to kill and arrest more Palestinian freedom fighters, with the cooperation of the “Oslo guys” under the pretext of “sacred” security collaboration with the occupation. The main role of the Oslo-created Palestinian Authority is to protect Israel, its settlements and the settlers, as well as suppress the Palestinian resistance.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has proposed a new principle of “peace for peace” instead of Oslo’s “land for peace” which includes withdrawal from occupied Arab land. At the signing of the normalisation deal with the UAE and Bahrain he claimed that this stems from Israel’s strength. He also disregarded Oslo and claimed that it did not stipulate that Israel should withdraw from the occupied territories.
So where is the peace that the “Security Coordination Authority” is still clinging to, and using as an excuse or justification for its submission in the guise of a “strategic” choice? History shows us that usurpers never seek peace with their victims, but seek to eliminate them. The victim who asks for peace when they are weak does so with neither dignity nor pride. Peace requires strength to impose it on the ground, otherwise it is a surrender on the stronger party’s terms. Do the Palestinians now have the strength or power to force their enemy to seek a peace deal as they did after the first intifada?
There are still those who want to be stripped of their sole source of strength in order to satisfy their enemy and the deceptive Western world. In his speech before the UN General Assembly, Mahmoud Abbas vowed to fight terrorism, knowing full well that the US and the Zionist enemy believe that legitimate resistance to the illegitimate occupation is “terrorism” and designate Hamas as a “terrorist entity”. He ignores the fact that resistance is the right of people under occupation, because he wants to flatter the Zionists and the West, and take their funds for the corrupt PA, of course.
If Abbas is truly sincere in reconciling with Hamas, for the sake of the unity of the Palestinian people, and not simply to block the path of his rival, Mohammed Dahlan, whom the Israelis and their Zionist Arab allies are preparing to succeed him, he must tear the Accords up and take off his Oslo coat. He must carry a rifle on his shoulder and don the Palestinian keffiyeh, a symbol of pride and dignity, to heal the rift and reunite the people. This will allow them to stand tall in the face of the current challenges, not least the unjust terms of the so-called deal of the century.
Will he do that? He probably won’t, but if he does I will take my hat off to him and bow to him with all the free people of the world in appreciation and respect.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.