Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

It’s Cairo, Not Tel Aviv! | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The eruption of the Goldstone report has come to an end. We are now facing a new old reality; the reality of Hamas, as usual, evading reconciliation that strives towards organizing the internal Palestinian structure, as the Goldstone report is no longer suspended. The question here is: what are the new excuses that Hamas and the factions of Damascus have come up with?

The factions of Damascus, including Hamas, state that they will not sign an agreement with the [Palestinian] Authority in Egypt as long as it does not respect Palestinian principles. This is confusing; the Palestinians are being asked to go to Cairo, not Tel Aviv, as reconciliation is being sponsored by Egypt. So what principles are they talking about?

Here it is apparent that Hamas, and those who follow its approach on the Goldstone report, were not shedding any tears over the victims [of the Gaza war]; rather the whole process was one of political opportunism and blackmail, as there was criticism of the way the Goldstone report was dealt with. This is understandable but it is not enough to justify postponing Palestinian reconciliation.

Hamas has been exposed after a week of confusion regarding the Goldstone report, as it is asking Egypt for delay after delay on the pretext of opposing a word here and there after a year of negotiating and coming and going from Cairo. It is clear that Hamas does not want reconciliation or that the decision is not in its hands.

It is unfortunate that this position of Hamas and the Palestinian factions in Damascus comes at a time when most international organizations are warning against the danger of the situation in Gaza. In fact, they are warning against a breakdown that threatens society there, as Hamas failed to succeed in the war with Israel and [to achieve] a truce, and it could not reach an agreement with the Palestinian Authority (PA), or make the lives of Gaza’s residents any easier, as the movement simply wants to control the principality at any cost. There is a big difference between what the people of Gaza are experiencing today and the conditions of the people in the West Bank, as testified by the Palestinians and international organizations.

Therefore, the way the inter-Palestinian issue is being dealt with requires comprehensive review. There needs to be a review of how Hamas is dealt with by the Egyptians who are concerned because they share their borders with Gaza and this matter is related to their security and there are people who want to use this as an internal bargaining chip in Egypt. The PA must also review how it deals with Hamas, especially as there is a real battle taking place inside Gaza between Hamas and other factions, most prominently the Islamic Jihad [Movement of Palestine]. Their most recent battle was the war over [controlling] mosques. We must not forget the theatrical scene that we witnessed in the way the Jund Ansar Allah were dealt with in the Ibn Taymiyyah mosque in Rafah, as it was reported that day that the leader of the rebellion, known as Abu Noor al Maqdisi, blew himself up. Never before had we heard of a man in his fifties blowing himself up with a suicide belt!

Therefore, organizing the internal Palestinian structure requires comprehensive review by the Egyptians and the PA, not for the sake of eliminating Hamas but in order to save the Palestinian cause and the people of Gaza.