Opinion| Palestinian reconciliation and missed opportunities

Hatem Sadek
5 Min Read
Dr Hatem Sadiq

This week, Cairo hosted a new meeting for the Palestinian parties in an attempt to unify the family.

The meeting bypassed the stage of delving into details about some of the issues that Hamas has reservations about, especially in the election file.

In the recent period, the Palestinian issue has become as if we were going in a vicious circle. In the beginning, the dispute was over the area of land on which the future state would be established.

Over time, however, and through playing with pressure cards and contradictions, the dispute shifted to focusing on the space for consensus between the Palestinian parties themselves. Later on, the matter developed until we now face a challenging question, which is whether peace with Israel will lead to Palestinian reconciliation, or will reconciliation and unification of the Palestinian ranks be the guarantor of achieving peace?

Thus, the matter turned into a set of missed opportunities that we could not exploit to find a satisfactory solution to the Palestinian issue. What is more, some Arab and regional parties have intervened and played the role of mediator, to undermine the historical role of Egypt in that crisis.

This is specifically to spoil what Cairo is doing in this file now, and not to achieve peace and restore the land. It is striking that some of these countries believed that with their money, their media, or their hidden cooperation with Israel, they could achieve this suspicious purpose. This could indeed happen for some time as a result of the short-sightedness of some Palestinian sects that seek to achieve material gains, but it is impossible to happen all the time.

During the past two years, several meetings and efforts were held to implement reconciliation, and recently an initiative was launched by the Arab Group for Peace. This came amid calls from many parties to achieve reconciliation to face the challenges that plague the Palestinian issue, in light of the annexation plan and Washington’s efforts to impose what is known as the deal of the century.

I am not optimistic at all. Every time an agreement is reached between Fatah and Hamas, celebrations start with what has been achieved. Soon, however, the matter results in disappointment and failure to implement what is agreed upon, especially with Hamas’s insistence to remain in the position of power in search of its interests.

Unfortunately, at the level of individual and collective meetings to open and secret dialogues and various mediations over more than 15 years, the understandings and agreements between Fatah and Hamas did not succeed in healing the internal Palestinian division.

This is due to the lack of political will to end the division, because the two parties re linked to regional relations that have an interest in thwarting the Egyptian role.

The presence of many beneficiaries from the division, especially in Gaza, impedes the achievement of reconciliation, because it will eliminate existing forces and influence personal interests that benefit from this division.

The absence of political will and external interference are the decisive factors in the continuation of the division that represents the greatest danger to the Palestinian cause.

All Palestinian parties are talking about reconciliation, while they cling to their narrow and fragile interests. And these beneficiaries also did not, and will not dare to, give up an inch of their illusions in reaping the largest share of the money directed to aid.

This is even if the result is the suffering and misery of the Palestinian people. What is happening today in the Palestinian issue reminds me of the saying from the film Against the Government, featuring the late Egyptian artist Ahmed Zaki, which says “We are all corrupt, and no one is excluded”.

By Dr Hatem Sadek, Professor at Helwan University

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