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Ending the Division and its Bitter Experiences
By: Moatasem Hamadeh
December 4, 2018

Under the positive Egyptian efforts, the parties of the division, Fatah and Hamas, resumed their talks with Cairo separately to reach a new situation that would lead to ending the division and restoring internal unity.

This Egyptian effort is not the first of its kind, as Cairo has already taken this issue several times, some of which have reached understandings that have been suspended for one reason or another. Some of them have been applied for a certain period, then, the two parties have biased, each to its divisive camp, and each party uses its pretexts to justify its bias step, and its disrupting of the understandings that they had reached several times.

This time we note that things are again about the titles already dealt with, by the two parties: a national consensus government, the revival of the Legislation Council in the PA, a plan for comprehensive elections to rebuild the Palestinian institution on a democratic basis through the system of full proportional representation.

However, based on the bitter experiences, on the parties dealing with such titles, it is noticed that the explosion quickly surprises us all, when focusing on the details of implementing what has been the "reached. This brings us back to square one, in a media strife, in which each party tries to hold the other responsible for disrupting the 'understandings', and this is not a new thing, as the Palestinian situation has become accustomed to it, even some of us are already predicting that any attempt by Cairo to reconcile the two sides, will inevitably fail.

• If we take the issue of the "government of consensus", we note that its formation by a bilateral agreement (with the few seats left for other factions) will quickly lead to the explosion, although the bilateral talks may extend for months, such as the talks between President Abbas and the head of Hamas first government, Ismael Hanie, following the signing of the National Consensus Document on 26 /6/2006, if the two parties agreed on the need to form a national consensus government. The discussions were continued until the end of January 2007, and this government was only seen in February, then, in June, it was dissolved by the Hamas movement coup.

When the two sides, once again, agreed on a national consensus government, through the April 2014 Al-Shatee agreement, this government did not succeed in ending the division, and things remained as they were.

The reason is that these governments are based on quotas but not on national unity, so as they include the widest range of Palestinian forces, in accordance with a national political program compatible on it, that its titles are contained in the National Accord Document (2006) and in more than one national document, which were results of the work of the committee for the activation and development of the PLO and its institutions, that held a series of meetings in Cairo at the highest levels of leadership.

• While the return to the (paralyzed) Legislative Council and its revival, to monitor the work of the government of national reconciliation, is only a step on land planted with mines. As the Legislative Council, which was produced by the 2006 elections, constitutes the blatant model of the quota policy, because it was the product of a backward law that does not reflect the scales of power in the Palestinian arena, and it is based on bilateral polarization. Even if we are not in the task to assess this Council, at the same time, we recall that the Legislative Council, in its composition in 2006, played a major role in creating the division between the two parties, even before the bloody coup, and turned into an initial conflict between Fatah and Hamas, at the expense of the supreme national interest, so the Council failed throughout the period it lived, to adopt a single law. So, returning to this Council with its current structure, is a serious step, because it goes beyond the developments occurred in the Palestinian situation, whether in the laws or in the balance of power on the ground.

As in the laws, the electoral law is based on the system of full proportional representation, allowing the broadest majority of Palestinian society, both parties and independents, to run in the elections to reach the Palestinian Authority parliament. Thus the map of the next PLC will be so different, as it will not have an overwhelming majority of a specific party, and the composition of the sub-committees and the government, as an executive authority, will only be achieved in the context of alliances. The basis of the alliances is the agreement on the program, not the quotas as it stands now.

Therefore, any proposal for a national consensus government, and a revival for the Legislative Council, is only a recipe for establishing a new crisis that will not be less harmful than its predecessors.

Ending the division, taking advantage of the bitter experiences of the Palestinian situation, under the pressure of the dispute between the two parties, must be through the wide national frame, i.e. the PLO. As ending the division between the two parties outside the framework of the national institution, has approved its failure. And reaching to the PLO, must take the following steps:

• Forming a national unity government away from quotas (such as the claim that the representation of forces in the government must match their representation in the Legislative Council) and the most important condition for the success of this government, is its program, so as it represents an entry for the reunification of the Palestinian situation on the basis of national programs and partnership, so as this government supervises on comprehensive legislative and presidential elections (for both Legislative and National Councils) according to the system of full proportional representation.

• Rehabilitating the Palestinian national program, the program of salvation from occupation and settlement, through the resistance and the intifada in the field, on the path of turning to national disobedience, and the resistance in international forums to delegitimize the occupation, isolate the colonial settlement state and solve the Palestinian Cause at an international conference under the sponsorship of the United Nations and by its relevant resolutions.

• Introducing the necessary reforms to the Palestinian institution, at the level of the first leadership, and to the executive institution, where a separation will be between the institutions of the PLO, the supreme authority, and the institutions of the PA, and rebuilding the institutions of the PA on a professional basis, away from partisan quotas and prioritizing loyalty over efficiency, as well as fighting against corruption, and the assertion that the PA is in the service of citizens, and not as it is now, the citizen in the service of the PA.

• Reconsidering the national cause, as a cause of a people under occupation, and its institutions are the institutions of a national movement, which necessitates the establishment of internal relations on the basis of national partnership and introducing themselves to the world in this form, away from the illusion of building a state under occupation and the claim that the PA has become a state that lacks only sovereignty, as if sovereignty is a minor element in this matter. But what is the value of States, if they don't guarantee their peoples sovereignty over themselves and their land.

These statements, which preceded the talks to end the division and accompanied them by both sides, and doubted their success, are evidence to which we base our opinion on, in putting a real end to the division.

Moatasem Hamadeh is a member of the Political Bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by: Rasha Abo Allan
Revised by: Ibrahim Motlaq

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