Ramallah: Palestinian rival factions Fatah and Hamas are not serious about achieving Palestinian internal unity and the recent Cairo meetings were only aimed at appeasing the Palestinian street, said a senior Palestinian official.
“The current circumstances are right for internal reconciliation but both Fatah and Hamas are not ready to pay the price of the end of the internal rift,” said Dr Hassan Khuraishah, the Deputy Head of the Palestinian Reconciliation Council and a member of committees and subcommittees in charge of reconciliation issues, in an interview with Gulf News.
Hamas gained high moral ground during the Israeli offensive against Gaza in November and Fatah succeeded in upgrading the status of Palestine to a non-member observer state almost at the same time. “Following those two successes, there has been a serious wish and massive pressure from the Palestinian street on the two rival factions to end their split,” he said. “The Cairo meetings only aimed at selling the Palestinian street the illusion that the two rival parties have positively responded to the pressure of the street.”
During the Cairo meetings, the two parties have begun reviewing the articles of agreements signed in Cairo and Doha, but the official claims that that does not mean a new agreement will come by. “Both parties are not serious about the reconciliation,” he said.
“The two parties have even failed to allocate a unified budget for the West Bank and Gaza Strip to end the financial suffering of the Palestinians in both parts of Palestine,” he said. “A big section of the two parties believe that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is an investment project where the financer decides, not a liberation project.”
Khuraishah said that the two Palestinian rivals are far from proposing a unified political program for the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) which will adopt two-state solution formula using peaceful resistance. “Hamas will never accept and approve this political program without mentioning resistance in its broader meaning,” he said. “The Palestinian people stand in urgent need to come up and impose a Palestinian national charter which punishes PLO officials who made negative comments on the Palestinian right of return for example.”
“Insisting and putting the elections for the Palestinian National Council at the forefront of the Cairo meetings is undisputed proof that the two parties are not serious about the Palestinian internal reconciliation,” he said.
Dr. Khuraisah wondered how it would be possible to reach every Palestinian in the diaspora to participate in the elections of the National Council. “This is not possible and some countries have denied the Palestinians the right to conduct such elections on their territories,” he said.
He added that there have been calls to postpone the security issues in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for long periods. “The PNA security apparatus controls the West Bank while those of Hamas control the Gaza Strip and as a result fair and transparent elections can never be secured in Palestine,” he said.
He argues that the Palestinian Central Election Commission’s (CEC) work to start updating its voter register in Gaza Strip does not indicate an end to the Palestinian internal rift. “The CEC work is purely technical, not political,” he said, adding that Hamas can not suspend the ECE work in Gaza.
The CEC announced on Wednesday that it has updated the status of 70,000 Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank within the first two days of its work (which started last Monday and will last till the coming Monday). The CEC said in an official statement that its Gaza centers have been overcrowded by Gazans eager to update their status.