Hamas opts for peace – Israel and the international community obliged to now reciprocate

Palestine Updates 71
Opinion

Hamas opts for peace –
Israel and the international community obliged to now reciprocate

Hamas’s choice to disband the Gaza administrative committee and work with Fatah is the firmest and clearest indication yet that it wants to create common space with its erstwhile political rival. It is now for the PA to respond with its side of obligations without delay or disruption.

Hamas disbanded the committee that once managed political matters.  It has also conveyed preparedness to resume dialogue with Fatah on the mechanisms to implement the Cairo Agreement that was reached between the two rival Palestinian factions in 2011. The deal calls for forming a national unity government, holding presidential and parliamentary elections and polls to elect member of the national council of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

Hamas has demonstrated resolve to proceed with steps to end the division towards uniting the Palestinian people despite the fact that there still exist several obstacles that could hinder the implementation of the reconciliation between the two parties. It is still unclear when the unity government would take over the Gaza Strip. So, its fingers crossed as the world looks on!

This breakthrough viewed from Fatah gives Palestinians as a whole a stronger hand in reviving the peace process Hamas, which won the 2006 elections in the Palestinian territories, fought a war with Fatah in 2007 for the control of Gaza after its West Bank government was dissolved by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Since then, Fatah ruled parts of the West Bank not under Israeli control, while Hamas dominated Gaza.With the escalating humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, Hamas changed political tack.  Its new political charter moderates its stand on Israel and acknowledges the option of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 border. Hamas will also accede to the reconciliation government based in Ramallah to run Gaza and hold elections in the territories. Fatah too has reciprocated warmly. There is now hope that a united leadership will help the Palestinian leadership forge an effectual resistance or instigate a credible peace bid.

It now remains to be seen how the international community will act. Will they play spoil sport? Hamas and Fatah may bury the hatchet and form a national unity government. But several western governments view Hamas as a ‘terrorist’ outfit. This view could create contentious issues from the outside. For the last decade Hamas was not allowed to rule and the ‘outside’ factors were critical in amplifying the divisions. But Hamas has transformed not only by tempering its charter to allow itself more political space, but has also opted for intra-Palestinian reconciliation.

There are two important affirmative factors that come from move: One, it would relieve the various restrictions now in place on Gaza and ease the humanitarian crisis that impacts no less than 1.8 million people. The new found united bloc would also heighten the options of and enhance the negotiating capacity of the Palestinian entity.

The onus rests hugely on the international community to foresee the potential of these changes and respond positively by altering their own political postures. European governments who prompted some of this political mischief, Germany, in the main, are under obligation to be just and demand that Israel see the sense of this all. Israel must emerge from its arrogant, colonialist stance to concede what it must to make possible justice and peace.

The opportunities for peace come with rarity. To ignore them would be to risk the perpetuation of more conflict and the resultant human suffering.  Hamas has taken one giant stride for what may be political opportunism. But they have acted astutely. How will Israel and the key forces in the international community reciprocate?

Ranjan Solomon
Editor 


Hamas praised for agreeing to dissolve Gaza government

Palestinian group Hamas has been praised for agreeing to dissolve its government in Gaza

Ten years after it seized power in Gaza, Hamas has agreed to hold general elections in the flashpoint territory – an attempt to make peace with its rival moment Fatah. Hamas said it has dissolved its administration to facilitate the creation of a “unity government” led by Fatah. The move comes just four months after Hamas leaders presented a new political programme which softened its stance on Israel, stating that it no longer sought war with the entire Jewish people, while accepting a Palestine based on the 1967 borders. Hamas’s latest gesture has been praised by the League of Arab States, which says Hamas has furthered the interests of Palestine, according to Daily News Egypt. The UN delegate to the Middle East, Nikolai Miladinov, called this decision a step in the right decision and called on all sides to seize the opportunity it creates, according to Daily News Egypt.
Source:Israel loots Palestinian natural resources

Israel is “looting” the Palestinians’ natural resources in the West Bank, with the blessing of the Supreme Court, an NGO has charged.
According to Yesh Din, the Israeli quarrying industry in the occupied West Bank has “expanded significantly” since a ruling by Israel’s top court, rejecting a petition brought by the NGO demanding an end to all mining and quarry activities in the region. Yesh Din’s petition had claimed Israeli policy of “economic exploitation of occupied territory” constitutes a “blatant violation of international law”. But in 2011, Israel’s Supreme Court rejected the petition, “thereby regulating a colonial exploitation of natural resources on occupied land”. According to data obtained by the NGO, the amount of gravel mined in Area C of the West Bank – including both Israeli and Palestinian quarries – rose by 40 per cent from 2008 to 2015. Over 20 per cent of the State of Israel’s general consumption now comes from the quarries owned by Israel in the occupied West Bank.
Source:Drowning in the waste of Israeli settlers
Close to 19 million cubic meters of wastewater from Israeli settlements flows through the occupied West Bank each year.

Jamal Hammad remembers when the al-Matwa spring in Salfit city was a popular destination for locals. Several decades ago, the area would often be crowded with Palestinians hiking in the valley and families picnicking alongside the clear, flowing stream. Now, however, the sewage flowing through the spring, the rancid smell that engulfs the valley and the mosquitoes swarming the area has left the valley largely deserted. “All of this waste is coming from Israel’s settlements; mostly from the Ariel settlement…We are very worried about what long-term effects this pollution will have on our future.” The issue of waste management has been ongoing for decades in the occupied West Bank.
Source:Sabra and Shatila remembered 35 years on

Lebanon has marked the 35th anniversary of the massacre of hundreds and perhaps thousands of civilians in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila. Survivors still recount the horrors of the slaughter that took place before the eyes of Israel.
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Israel annexes four villages’ increases civil administration

The new Amihai settlement outpost will be allocated to settlers from Amona Settlement outpost which was evacuated earlier this year. The Israeli government signed about 250 million shekels to build the new settlement “Amihai”

Israeli announced its plan to dismantle four Palestinian villages near Ramallah, northern West Bank, and relocate their residents to the West Bank town of Al-Ram, north of Jerusalem, saying it will take care of changing and adjusting the population’s papers, including IDs and permits. The villages are all located on the opposite side of the settlement road known as 443. This road and the separation of the four villages’ will cause separating the central part of the West Bank from its southern areas. In addition, the construction of the alternative Amihai settlement outpost which will replace Amona, it will cause separating the north part of the West Bank from its surroundings. Therefore, the relocation process, and the settlement construction will cause completely dividing the West Bank into two parts.

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