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People before Government
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
October 26, 2017

The act of not lifting sanctions on Gaza Strip, opens the door to a new wave of anger, and possibly leads to the explosion.

President Abbas has repeatedly stated that the decisions, which have been made by him about Gaza and its employees from the PA, will be canceled immediately after the dissolution of Administrative Committee that has been set up by Hamas in Gaza Strip, while the movement replied by putting a set of conditions that the PA should implement in return.

It is clear, that the leadership of PA understood from this response, that the Administrative Committee is the point that Hamas does not want to get out of it, so Hamas has announced that it is in the process of further strict measures. Thus, it seems that the path of division, is heading towards escalation, and that the people of Gaza Strip is about to witness new unfair resolutions.

But when Hamas announced its decision to dissolve the committee, and signed an agreement with Fatah that could pave the way to end the division, it was normal for the people of Gaza and all Palestinians to expect that President Abbas implemented what he had promised about lifting the sanctions immediately.

The meeting of Consensus Government in Gaza did not achieve the results that people of Strip has expected of lifting the sanctions and turning the meeting into a carnival scene for the joy of Palestinians to return to the path of ending the division.

But the disappointment was waiting for them in the light of what was issued by the Executive Committee of PLO after its meeting on 16/10/2017, which its statement has no mention of the issue of lifting the sanctions on the people of Gaza. All of what have been included in this statement, are welcoming the agreement between Fatah and Hamas, with focusing on the need to make the Consensus Government to perform its tasks.

The series of PA's sanctions started with a decision to cut, between 30 and 50%, off the salaries of its employees in Gaza Strip, discontinue social assistance for 360 families, stop transferring patients, in Gaza, for treatment abroad, approve on early retirement by president Abbas and halt the electricity payment of Gaza Strip and to prevent the supply of diesel to operate the power plant, which contributed to aggravate and deteriorate the life conditions to an unprecedented extent.

Since the first "punitive" step, calls have been raised to protect the people of Gaza Strip from the repercussions of conflict between the two sides of division, which have ended the suffering from the unjust siege.

The sanctions were welcomed by Trump's administration and in line with the conditions which have been proposed by US envoy Greenblatt, including the non-transfer of funds to Gaza Strip.

There are those who believe, that the lifting of sanctions on the people of Gaza Strip, "negatively" affects the ability of Consensus Government to perform its tasks and its continuation (or delaying of act of lifting it) reassures them of the results that they want from the supposed steps in the reconciliation process, and this refers to many unfortunate indicator:

• Firstly, it is a clear recognition that these sanctions are "weapons" that have been easily used in the course of divisive conflict. The delay in lifting them is a decision to continue using this weapon, despite the suffering it causes to the people of Gaza.

• It is an expression of the truth of how ,the people who had the previous belief, have considered the point of agreement which has been signed in Cairo, as a new project for apportionment, not a gate to end the division and restore unity, according to the rules of national partnership, and linking to the decisions of comprehensive discussions.

• It stresses, at the same time, on the disregard of people, who had this belief, to the need to create a confidence and optimism among the Palestinian people towards this agreement, and thus affecting their wishes to restore unity and return to the atmosphere of frustration because of the continuation and exacerbation of crises, and link its solution to the rate of compatibility between Hamas and Fatah about the quota of both parties in the new 'fact' after the agreement. This will cause a situation of disorder and resentment for the Gaza and its inhabitants.

• The most serious of all the above, that the delay in solving the problems of Strip, starting with the punitive decisions, is the waiting for Washington's reactions on the first steps in the path of reconciliation and fearing of some reactions that may stop the Settlement which is the reason of the Palestinian official policy, to refresh its illusive hopes about the American role in finding a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The American position on the reconciliation agreement and its conditions that have been proposed clearly indicates to the path that Washington wants the implementation of the agreement to go along with the regional solution project which is seeking for.

Therefore, it is necessary to emphasize that, what protects the results of reconciliation agreement, is to adopt the national liberation program with its well-known titles: the right of return and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on all the territories occupied in the 1967 aggression with East Jerusalem as its capital. A state that is free of settlements and settlers, a state that had sovereign on its territory, citizens, wealth and security.

Without this, the agreement with its both sides and the components of Palestinian situation, will be under the American-Israeli "scope" to impose a regional settlement that serves Israel's expansionist and security interests and places the future of Palestinian territories within a security, economic and political sponsorship map that are in contradiction with the legitimate national rights of Palestinian people.

The recent agreement between Fatah and Hamas movements differs from previous ones through the perspective of its political context in which makes its road of implementation at a crossroads:

• Either be subjected in its implementation to the rules of apportionment and to be a spark again for a coming crisis, may be more difficult than previous ones.

• Or to be wide gate to end the division by ending the factional policies that lead to it. The first indications of it, is by lifting the sanctions immediately on Gaza Strip and its people and ending the policy of tampering with the Palestinian social unity by planting the repercussions of the division and watering them among the ranks of Palestinian people.

Many of the optimists in signing the agreement expected the Consensus Government to start its meeting in Gaza by announcing the lifting of sanctions on its people. Perhaps more than those expected President Abbas, as a president of the PA and Executive Committee of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), to start the meeting of committee by announcing that.

This has not happened, neither in government decisions nor in executive decisions. We do not know whether the expression of disappointment is enough to comment on that! And the rest is up to the Palestinian situation in all its components.

Mohammad Al-Sahli is an Editor in Chief of Al-Hourriah newspaper, the official speaker of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by: Rasha Abo Allan and Hassan Barazi

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