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Keep Hamas in Power - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Hamas leaders have accused their opponents in the Fatah movement of instigating government workers to go on strike. I believe that there is some truth behind this accusation but it is legitimate within the framework of partisan rivalry. Furthermore, depriving employees of five months worth of salary will not be received well.

It is evident that Fatah is in a hurry to return to government by trying to displace Hamas, by joining it or by inflaming the political arena against it. Fatah is unable to wait for the next round of parliamentary elections. However, in my opinion, it would be better if Hamas stays in power and that Fatah is deprived of power for a while longer for the sake of rehabilitating the political community, which is currently going through what we could call training for all parties.

Hamas has always been external to the government as it was in opposition to it. Due to its lack of experience, it is now suffering as it wants to maintain its standpoint of opposition even whilst it is in power. Hamas has discovered that revolutionary political statements will not be enough to feed a quarter of a million Palestinian civil servants. As much as people agree with Hamas, the people need to be fed.

As for Fatah, it is currently experiencing a period of shock simply because it became addicted to power and does not know anything outside of government protection. On the streets, where it was expelled, Fatah discovered that life can be difficult. It is for this reason that Fatah wants to get back into government under any capacity whether it is damaging, provoking or sharing and this is the usual condition of addicts.

The Palestinian experience is important not because it represents the biggest issue in the history of the region but because it creates a political model that is able not only to free the land, but to administer the land. What matters the most is the political institution’s rehabilitation of governing the territories that have witnessed severe conditions. It is for this reason that keeping Fatah on the street for some time will benefit it by getting to know the public, its opinions and its aspirations. Furthermore, it would be an opportunity for Fatah to purge itself of corruption that has long affected the party. Fatah should learn from Hamas, which has shared food and the responsibility of cleaning the streets with the public and which has delivered political sermons in every mosque and center.

This equation is needed for the interest of the Palestinians, even if it is difficult to push Hamas to adopt pragmatism and to urge Fatah to have integrity and to communicate with the Palestinian public. These objectives will not be achieved without paying a price and not before members of Hamas will feel weakness and Fatah members suffer from hunger, causing all of them to accept what they had previously rejected. For many years, Fatah adamantly rejected all calls for administrative reform and the movement became famous for its maladministration, which forced the majority of Palestinians to vote for Hamas including those who politically disagree with Hamas. Hamas, which thought that the electoral competition would be easy to win, which it was, now admits that every new day in power is more difficult than the last. Fatah with all its imperfections was able to return the Palestinian freedom fighters of the dispersed Diaspora to Gaza and Jericho.

Fatah had skillfully managed the battle of negotiations, regained more territories as well as international recognition. It managed to obtain jobs and services for three million Palestinians. Fatah was on the verge of establishing a Palestinian state despite the violence that Hamas had caused during the last few years of Yasser Arafat’s life.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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