Gauging the Impact of Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation

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“We signed this agreement to get rid of the malignant cancer of division that has entered the Palestinian body.” – Fatah’s Azzam al-Ahmad

Hamas and Fatah, the two primary Palestinian factions, have announced a reconciliation deal in Algiers. Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune announced a unity plan in January. To make it happen, Algerian officials met separately with the leaders of both Fatah and Hamas to discuss the basics of the plan. Finally, barely a month before the Arab League Summit, on October 13, the two groups met in Algiers to finalize the historic reconciliation agreement.

The agreement tries to heal a schism between Fatah, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, and Hamas, led by Ismail Haniyeh, which has divided Palestinians and hampered their statehood aspirations. The Palestinian territories have been divided since 2006 when Hamas won elections in Gaza. Since then, Fatah has had control over the West Bank and Hamas has controlled Gaza.

Given the current global and local political backdrop, the agreement represents a historic progressive step forward for both parties. The two parties have the same aim of establishing a Palestinian state, which includes East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank.

Does the deal offer any new hope?

First and foremost, the agreement acknowledges the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the single voice of Palestinians, which marks the beginning of a new era in terms of ties among Palestinians. The PLO will be acknowledged as the only legal representative of the Palestinian people, and national dialogue will be implemented to guarantee that all Palestinian groups are represented within the PLO.

In accordance with the agreement, TRT World explains: “elections will take place for the presidency and for the Palestinian Legislative Council, which acts as a parliament for Palestinians in the occupied territories. It also stipulates elections for the Palestinian National Council, a parliament for Palestinians including the millions-strong diaspora. Algeria agreed to host the council. ”

The impacts of the deal

The agreement creates a circumstance in which Hamas has the opportunity to become part of the Palestinian political system, rather than staying outside of it, which has derailed any meaningful discussions or a prospective peace accord with Israel.

Since it was first established, Hamas has gained widespread support among the Palestinians. Hamas thinks that by committing to engage with the PLO it would be able to strengthen its credibility while also advancing the peace process. The agreement will raise the likelihood that further humanitarian assistance will be provided to Gazans. Because most of Gaza’s economy derives from direct economic assistance and humanitarian aid provided by other countries, this provides a lifeline to the Gazans. The United States, the European Union, and assorted Arab countries provide the bulk of these funds. External assistance places an emphasis on maintaining internal stability, which can only be accomplished via the collaboration of Fatah and Hamas. The prevailing worldview in Palestine places a premium on cohesiveness and cohesion among its people. Palestinian youth have been vocal in their quest for unification between Fatah and Hamas.

The decision to reconcile was met with overwhelming support from Palestinians. The economic situation in the West Bank is at its worst point since the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994. The government of Mahmoud Abbas has acted to alleviate an economy that has been stagnating for years, long before the outbreak of COVID-19. However, the stagnation of the economy has been exacerbated by the pandemic as well as the war in Ukraine, both of which have left a bleak scenario for a region that is seeing an increase in poverty. The recent agreement will work as a game changer in terms of reducing economic uncertainty. This is due to the fact that the unity of the two parties and democratic rule will increase the likelihood of additional investments, and foreign aid, all of which will contribute to an improvement in the overall economic scenario.

The deal represents something of a diplomatic victory for Algeria, only a week before the country is scheduled to host the Arab League Summit. In recent months, Algeria has played host to a steady stream of European leaders as part of its efforts to boost both its energy sales and its soft power. This is particularly important in light of renewed tensions with Algeria’s primary rival, Morocco. By taking a mediator role, Algeria sought to demonstrate its diplomatic strength while also establishing itself as a voice for North Africa.

For years, the international community has stressed the need for a united and democratic Palestine. Peace may be achieved by strengthening the Palestinian position via an alliance with the Arab peoples rather than with Arab governments. This is the path that will bring about the greatest chance of success. The conflicts and problems that exist amongst the Palestinians are not what the Arab people desire, thus the connection that exists between Hamas and Fatah is necessary for the purpose of guaranteeing that the alliance will be successful. In addition to this, most Arab governments favor a united Palestine. Turkey and others have already shown a significant amount of support for the accord.

As a direct consequence of the agreement, the Palestinians have shown that there is only one way for them to express themselves, and that is via the process of peace and negotiations. In the past, intransigence from Hamas has stalled negotiations, and the international community has had trouble blaming the Palestinians for the impasse. By becoming part of the status quo it is hoped, Hamas will become more moderate and see that negotiations with Israel are the only path forward. The only way to bring peace is to work together and stop blaming one another for all the ills that have befallen the Palestinian people.

– S. M. Saifee Islam is a Research Associate at the KRF Center for Bangladesh and Global Affairs (CBGA), Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Published in International Policy Digest [Link]