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Hamas-Fatah reconciliation: Who will have the last laugh?

Hamas-Fatah reconciliation: Who will have the last laugh?

The Gaza visit of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah which was the continuation of Cairo’s decision to end the decade-long political rift between Hamas and Fatah as well as the specially convened cabinet meeting is of immense historical significance capable of altering the West Asian politics.

In the crucial cabinet meeting convened in Gaza, Hamdallah announced that it was a ‘historic moment’ towards unity of the Palestinian people, putting aside all the differences. Hamas had last month dissolved its administrative committee and expressed willingness for a reconciliation with the rival Fatah political party in order to reclaim the unity of Palestine. After the relinquishment of the government, the Gaza visit of the Palestinian Prime Minister after two years and the cabinet meeting comes as a hugely significant political leap. He believes that the resumed efforts for the unity of Palestine and the reconciliation discussions between the leaders of the organizations would go beyond narrow party interests and that it would pave way for putting an end to the geographical and political split between the West Bank and Gaza. This is implied by the warm welcome received by Hamdallah in Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Fatah lost control of Gaza after being beaten by Hamas in the 2006 election and was limited to West Bank. This was one of the fundamental reasons for the political conflict between Hamas and Fatah. The discriminatory approaches towards the elected Gaza government by the Palestine Authority and president Mahmoud Abbas as well as the constantly entering into unilateral deals that annulled the Palestinian interests, with Israel and Egypt, also augmented the conflict between the parties. Alongside the sanctions imposed by Israel and Egypt after el-Sisi came to power, severe control of resources recently adopted by the Palestine Authority have turned the lives of people in the Gaza strip, highly agonizing in the last ten years. Israel has cut the power supply to the Gaza strip from last June after the directions from Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestine Authority also slashed the salaries of thousands of government employees in Gaza. It was the belief that the lives of people in Gaza would be made more miserable by the political changes in the Gulf region that compelled Hamas to hold discussions with former Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan in Cairo and enter into a new deal.

Egypt believes that the reconciliation of two prominent organisations in Palestine and the emergence of a new government would resolve the security issues prevailing in the Sinai region. They also assume that the bilateral relations with Hamas would help in increasing the tenure of Sisi government and to curb the public influence of Brotherhood in Egypt. Fatah, which has influence on the new unity government, on the other hand believes that assuming power in Gaza as well, would favour the political interests of Israel. The threats against Israel will also likely be defused in near future by carrying out a change of military at the border and disarmament of Hamas through Mahmoud Abbas and Egypt. With the establishment of a new unity government, Hamas expects the severe sanctions imposed on Gaza to be lifted alongside a smooth availability of basic resources and free travel thereby boosting the influence among the Palestinians. They also wish to free the prisoners through diplomatic discussions with Israel. Fatah also desires to reclaim the lost power and credibility among the Palestinians. That was the reason why Egyptian diplomats and secret investigation officials of both Israel and Egypt were present during Hamdallah’s Gaza visit. In between the accomplishment of goals by several different parties, it’s yet to be seen whether the Palestinians would ever receive justice.

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