Palestinian Disunity: Major Roadblocks – RantAWeek

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Palestinian Disunity: Major Roadblocks

Posted by mjdudak on July 24, 2013 at 8:32 am

Politics in Palestine can get a bit tricky. Start with the fact that they are not globally recognized as a soviergn state and pile on their disunity of political powers, and you are left with one of the trickiest political situations around. The basic thing to understand about Palestine is that there are three very different regions, with three very different political climates. The Gaza Strip is the region that has the least freedom, and in turn an extremist group Hamas has come to power. In the Golan Heights, which is more Syrian and Lebanese than Palestinian, the primary power is Hezbollah which is the radical Islamist militia from Lebanon. In the West Bank, the power is the Palestinian Authority, lead by the party Fatah. The PA is the entity which the international community recognizes, and the entity recognized by the United Nations as a observer state. Hezbollah basically stays out of Palestinian affairs as they would rather be a part of Syria or Lebanon (like the Golan Heights was prior to 1967) than a separate Palestinian state. Meanwhile, the PA are trying to make ammends to present a unified front for Palestine. However, along the way, the PA is running into many roadblocks in the process of trying to create a sense of unity.

The first roadblock along the way is that Hamas is having trouble to unify the Gazan people in the first place. If the PA wants to have any hope of creating unity, they would have no way of getting most Gazan people as a whole on their side; instead, the PA needs to try to get Hamas as a whole on the side of the PA. But of course, this is a problem if Hamas does not have the support of the Gazan people. Earlier this year, there was a volley of rocketfire between the Gaza Strip (led by Hamas) and Israel. They signed a ceasefire to stop it, but recently, it appeared as if the ceasefire was at risk of collapse. An independent militant who had no association with Hamas fired a rocket from the Gaza Strip to Israel. This meant that Hamas, which was previously thought to be the unifying force in the Gaza Strip, has not actually unifed the Gaza Strip, and if Hamas cannot unify the Gaza Strip, then even if the PA can get Hamas on their side, the PA has no hope of unifying disparate groups in Palestine.

The other major roadblock that the PA is facing is the fact that Hamas sets back peace talks. Israel only recognizes Hamas as a terrorist group, not as any sort of political power, thus Israel has remained adamant about not having Hamas present at any peace negotiations. This past Saturday, US Secretary of State John Kerry announced that Israel ad Palestine has both agreed to sit down at the negotiating table once again. While this is a huge step forward, as the PA prepares to come to peace talks, they will struggle with this issue of how to deal with Hamas. If Hamas is present, no doubt Israel will be less likely to give into any demands and thus Hamas will have no reason to unite since peace talks will fall through; but if Hamas is not, the PA will be unable to garner true popularity for the peace talks, once again meaning Hamas and the PA are disunited. Meaning that as of right now, the PA is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Since Hamas refuses to support anything for which they are not present, the PA will struggle to unite Hamas and the PA because it leaves the PA will essentially no way to unite Palestine.

Going forward, the continuing struggle to create a single front for Palestine is a major roadblock towards any progress in peace negotiations. In order for Palestine to unite its disparate groups, they must first control their own people, and ensure that there are two major powers with full support before moving forward.  The most logical way for the PA to treat the peace talks are to simply sit down themselves and either hope that they can convince Israel to allow Hamas to sit down as well or convince Hamas to support their actions at the peace talks. Either way, the PA has a very long road ahead of them on uniting Palestinian groups.


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