Video: Gaza taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to Palestinian reconciliation

Israel/Palestine
on 9 Comments

On Thursday, October 12th the two largest Palestinian political movements, Fatah and Hamas, signed a reconciliation agreement in Cairo. The goal is to return power in the besieged Gaza Strip to the Palestinian National Authority, currently led by Fatah and based in Ramallah.

Under the deal brokered by Egypt, the Palestinian consensus government under Fatah will have full control of the Gaza Strip, ruled by Hamas since 2007, by December 1st.

Although the Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank were not extremely enthusiastic in the weeks preceding the agreement, there is now a lot of optimism, most notably among trade and commercial circles.

For instance, Mohammed Hirbawi, head of the Hebron chamber of commerce and industry said the division had decreased the movement between the West Bank and Gaza to its lowest levels in addition to the security obstacles imposed by the Israeli occupation, which resulted in a rise in transport expenses. He explained to Al Quds newspaper that the cost of a shipping truck for goods from Hebron to Gaza costs around NIS500 while from Israel to Gaza it is much less because the goods would have to go through Israel and not directly from the West Bank to the Strip.

A lot of Palestinians also expressed their desires to go visit the other part of Palestinian territories they have been isolated from over the past 10 years. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas himself has not been in Gaza since 2007.

Hopes are also high for Gazans to benefit from the reconciliation and live a better life. According to a poll conducted this summer by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, 47% of the surveyed Palestinians believed that conditions in the Gaza Strip would improve if Hamas accepted PA and Abbas conditions for reconciliation. The Gaza Strip has been suffering from the Israeli blockade since June 2006, as well as the almost permanent closure of its border with Egypt after 2014, and the sanctions imposed by President Mahmoud Abbas.

The water is heavily polluted, and people have started to develop infections due to the lack of clean and desalinated water. A child even died this summer from an infection he got from swimming in the sea where sewage water ends. Unemployment reached levels it had not reached since the aftermath of last war between Hamas and Israel. Electricity is maybe the worst: people now live with about 4 hours of power each day.

Various issues were dealt with in the agreement signed in Cairo. Responsibility of the border crossings is to be transferred to the Palestinian government. The Presidential guards, supervised by the European Union border agency (EUBAM), will run the Rafah crossing, on the border with Egypt.

Regarding security, about 3,000 security officers from the Palestinian authority are to join the Gaza police force.

A unified government is to be formed in November during new meetings in Cairo, where all movements that are members of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) will be invited.

The future of the armed resistance, as well as the public servants connected to one or the other movements (Fatah or Hamas) is to be discussed to this meeting as well.

In Israel, reactions were not so supportive. On Tuesday, the authorities said in the statement that they would acknowledge the agreement reached by the Fatah party and Hamas “only under certain conditions.” Shortly after, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas spokesman responded by saying that no Israeli position would change the official Palestinian position, and that reconciliation was the ultimate goal.

Hamas also answered on Wednesday that the Israeli government wants to “sabotage the Palestinian reconciliation and keep the Palestinian people divided.”

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9 Responses

  1. Nathan
    October 19, 2017, 3:36 pm

    For such a long time, everyone here is trying to explain that Gaza is under occupation. But now, we’re being shown here a short film (“Gaza taking a ‘wait and see’ approach….”) which ends with the very dramatic statement: “Under the agreement, the Palestinian consensus government is expected to have full control of the Gaza Strip by December 1st”.

    Full control of the Gaza Strip by a Palestinian government has two meanings that negate the traditional anti-Israel approach: (1) Gaza under full control of Palestinians is not occupied territory; (2) full control of a territory by a (Palestinian) government is exactly the accepted “Montevideo Convention” definition of statehood.

    I would humbly suggest that the film be removed from the website.

    • amigo
      October 19, 2017, 5:10 pm

      “For such a long time, everyone here is trying to explain that Gaza is under occupation. But now, we’re being shown here a short film (“Gaza taking a ‘wait and see’ approach….”) which ends with the very dramatic statement: “Under the agreement, the Palestinian consensus government is expected to have full control of the Gaza Strip by December 1st”.

      Nathan , are you vying for the medal for dumbest poster here.

      “For the last 25 years, Israel has imposed increasingly strict restrictions on travel to and from the Gaza Strip. Those restrictions affect nearly every aspect of life in Gaza, including the ability of human rights workers to document violations of human rights and international humanitarian law (IHL) and to advocate for their remediation. While Israel makes exceptions to its travel ban for what it calls humanitarian reasons, as a rule, it does not permit Palestinian, Israeli and foreign staff of human rights organizations to enter or leave Gaza. Israel controls Gaza’s airspace and territorial waters and has prevented the operation of an airport or seaport for the past two decades, rendering Palestinians in Gaza dependent on foreign ports to travel abroad. It also severely restricts all travel between Gaza and the West Bank, recognized as a single territorial unit, even when the transit does not take place via Israeli territory.”

      https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/04/02/unwilling-or-unable/israeli-restrictions-access-and-gaza-human-rights-workers

      IOW nathan, The PA controls what Hamas used to control –and nothing else has changed.

      Why do you treat stupidity as if it were a virtue.Is it intentional on your part.

      I would humbly suggest that MW put in place an IQ test for would be posters.

      • JosephA
        October 20, 2017, 8:35 pm

        In which the microphone has dropped. But, you know Nathan will pick it up and speak until his voice is hoarse.

    • Misterioso
      October 20, 2017, 10:30 am

      @Nathan

      At least you’re consistent, consistently WRONG!!!

      Reality:

      Human Rights Watch, 2005: “…Israel will continue to be an Occupying Power [of the Gaza Strip] under international law and bound by the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention because it will retain effective control over the territory and over crucial aspects of civilian life. Israel will not be withdrawing and handing power over to a sovereign authority – indeed, the word ‘withdrawal’ does not appear in the [2005 disengagement] document at all… The IDF will retain control over Gaza’s borders, coastline, and airspace, and will reserve the right to enter Gaza at will. According to the Hague Regulations, ‘A territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised’. International jurisprudence has clarified that the mere repositioning of troops is not sufficient to relieve an occupier of its responsibilities if it retains its overall authority and the ability to reassert direct control at will.”

      The International Committee of the Red Cross: “The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law. The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, ratified by Israel, bans collective punishment of a civilian population.”

      “In practice, Gaza has become a huge, let me be blunt, concentration camp for right now 1,800,000 people” – Amira Hass, 2015, correspondent for Haaretz, speaking at the Forum for Scholars and Publics at Duke University.

      “‘The significance of the [then proposed] disengagement plan [implemented in 2005] is the freezing of the peace process,’ Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser Dov Weisglass has told Ha’aretz. ‘And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda….’ Weisglass, who was one of the initiators of the disengagement plan, was speaking in an interview with Ha’aretz for the Friday Magazine. ‘The disengagement is actually formaldehyde,’ he said. ‘It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.’” (Top PM Aide: Gaza Plan Aims to Freeze the Peace Process, Ha’aretz, October 6, 2004)

      • Nathan
        October 21, 2017, 2:18 pm

        Really, Misterioso, it isn’t at all too complicated. The film presented to us in this article ends with the declaration that “under the agreement, the Palestinian consensus government is expected to have full control of the Gaza Strip by December 1st”. Let me explain that the film said so, not me.

        Now, here’s the logic of Political Science 101: When a government has full control of its territory, that territory is not under foreign occupation. Moreover, “a government in full control of territory” is EXACTLY the definition of an independent state.

        Now, here comes the tough part: I didn’t express an opinion if Gaza is an independent state or if it’s occupied – so, really, there is no need to convince me about the status of Gaza. I suggested that the film be removed from the website, because it negates the party line here at Mondoweiss. You should be joining me in this suggestion.

        Amigo – You seem to think that I’m quite dumb, and I can take the criticism. However, perhaps, before screaming that someone else is dumb, you might want to read what I wrote. I am quoting the film, and I believe that my quote is EXACT. Moreover, “full control of territory” indeed would define Gaza as not occupied territory. You should be wondering who made this film and posted it on an anti-Israel website. They have made a statement that negates the entire propaganda war against Israel for more than a decade.

    • Mooser
      October 20, 2017, 9:57 pm

      ” government is exactly the accepted “Montevideo Convention” definition of statehood.”

      Let’s all go flying down to San Remo for the Montvideo Convention.

  2. [email protected]
    October 19, 2017, 6:16 pm

    The way I see it, reconciliation was inevitable. On the one hand Hamas has dwindling support particularly after the Arab spring was defeated in Egypt. So they are motivated. The PA knows there is zero chance of an agreement with either the Americans or Israeli governments and so their raison d’être (negotiations) is futile and they want Gaza back so they are motivated. This will likely hold as the political players have things to gain and little to loose except for leaders egos (which is far more potent then it ought to be).

  3. JLewisDickerson
    October 19, 2017, 11:06 pm

    News / World / Middle East
    “Tony Blair says he regrets siding with Israel and George W Bush over Hamas boycott in 2006” | By Samuel Osborn |independent.co.uk | October 14, 2017
    Former PM says the international community should have tried to ‘pull Hamas into a dialogue and shifted their positions’
    LINK➤ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/tony-blair-israel-hamas-george-w-bush-boycott-2006-middle-east-quartet-a8001421.html%5D

    DAF – Der Sheriff (unzensiert) with English Subtitles
    A searing and pithy allegorical statement about U.S. imperialism by Deutsch Amerikanische Freundshaft (DAF).

  4. Misterioso
    October 20, 2017, 10:41 am

    I just received this from a Canadian friend:

    P​ress Release – October 17, 2017

    “Roger Waters to talk human rights at Vancouver forum”

    “On Thursday, October 26, 2017, Roger Waters, the creative power and song writing force behind Pink Floyd,​ ​will discuss his evolution as a human rights activist and his support for Palestinian rights during his Vancouver concert visit.

    “Waters’ long-time political activism became focused on Israel/Palestine in 2006.  He is one of the most prominent celebrities to join the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement, speaking out against Israel as an apartheid state as well as its mistreatment of Palestinians living under Israeli military control in the Occupied Territories.

    “In 1965, Waters co-founded the progressive rock band Pink Floyd, often called ‘the best band of all time.’  He performed his iconic album The Wall in 1990 to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall.  

    “Waters has been widely attacked for his views, and accused of being anti-Semitic because of his criticism of Israel.  But as Israeli journalist, Gideon Levy writes, when Waters ‘talks about Israel, it’s with pain, criticism and anger, but not hatred, and anti-Semitism is not part of the picture here.’

    “Waters will appear at St. Andrew’s Wesley Church,1022 Nelson St., Vancouver, on October 26 at 7pm, where he will be interviewed by Martha Roth, a member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada. The event will be chaired by Itrath Syed, an Instructor at Langara College and Simon Fraser University.”

    GO ROGER, GO!!

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