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The Palestinian Status-Quo, and the Proclaimed Elections

By Ayman Nijim, November 21, 2009


The Palestinian political situation now is somehow vague and unclear whether there will be elections in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, or separate elections in both the Gaza strip and the West Bank. The Palestinian and the international community may ask on the optimal means behind reaching an acceptable government with a higher interest of the country rather than the factions'.

Many estranged events happened in the last three months which added vagueness to the already vague situation in Palestine, a matter which enforces the concerned people of the Palestinian issue to look  up what is the optimal solution to these sticky situations, and why the Palestinian had failed to achieve their goals to reconcile.

The overall ongoing situation in the Gaza strip, including, the delay of Goldstone Report, and the failure of the reconciliation dialogue in Cairo,  within the previous two months, have led to the vagueness of the speculation of the political situation and made the Palestinian political compromise between the two rivals closer to collapse; Furthermore, the most prominent outcomes of the of the bad political situation ,within the previous three months, were the enhancing of the political and security divide in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Firstly, the delay of the Goldstone report has led to a heated controversy in the Palestinian arena, since the two rivals, Fateh and Hamas, spared no effort to gain semi-victory of the elections by inciting their partisans on their own information—The delay of the report has deep-rooted the political breakdown and made the reach for the reconciliation closer to fantasy and craziness to the Palestinian monitors and even for the public people

Secondly, the call for the presidential and parliamentary elections in both the West Bank and the Gaza strip, issued by the President, Mahmoud Abbas on 23 October 2009, has led to an additional splintering of the already political and strategic divide among "the factions to reconcile", where the first agreement signed in Mecca had no tangible actions on the ground after 4 months of holding it, the impending signing of the Egyptian document was projected to have the same dilemma duo to the lack of looking up the hidden creative ways of achieving the reconciliation.

Thirdly, The concern that rankles the people of Gaza is that the impending Palestinian elections should not enhance the fact of life in the Palestinian territories in general and the Gaza's situation in particular— Elections may be another "bottleneck" of resolving the key issues of the Palestinian cause as the status quo now is different of the past four-years.

Accordingly, Just before the failure of the dialogue in Cairo, the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, declared the next presidential and parliamentary elections in both the West Bank and the Gaza strip, saying that if the reconciliation efforts in Cairo succeeded, the elections might be in June of the next year as envisaged in the Egyptian document.

The dialogue doomed to fail; and the idea of the elections became a new resolution by the Palestinian president, who withdrew his candidacy for the next presidential election.

Now, the Hamas government in Gaza and the PA in the West Bank claimed legitimacy and their right to govern but, in my opinion, the truth has many other facets; Hamas considers itself the main governor of the Gaza strip and has the credit of the Palestinian people to govern, while Fateh claimed that Hamas seized Gaza by force and then get out of the Palestinian legitimacy.

If we look here on the term "legitimacy; we can see it very relative and difficult to be absolute among the Palestinian factions who have different ideological and political background, thus, Can Hamas, the Palestinian leading power, cooperate with the PA President to achieve the articles of the constitution; if Hamas agreed to resort to the President's declaration of the elections, Can Israel and the U.S.A respect the outcomes of the election? Is Abbas' move tactic, or strategic?

In my opinion, the scenarios of the cynical elections in the Palestinian territories will just enhance the geo-political division between the larger West Bank (for the PA government, and the smaller Gaza strip (for the Hamas government); boost the culturally different halves of the country; two states within the Palestinian state and proclaimed two-state solution with the Israeli Hawkish regime in Israeli. The future of Gaza is frightening

Elections had led to entrench the already political dispute between the two biggest parties in Palestine, and then what was possible while Hamas was not in the government, now became more complicated duo to Hamas understanding of the strategic depth of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as it is the spinoff of this organization. Any corruption, lack of governance in the Palestinian small enclave of Gaza, or a bad reputation of the performance of the movement may lead to an overwhelming defeat of these groups in Jordan, Egypt. Thus, Hamas decided to govern, whatever the obstacles and the challenges, and that they were been elected by the people and accordingly, they must adhere to their promise of "Change, and Reform".

Hamas has not selected that slogan in its first election randomly but because of the bad bureaucracy in the PA institutions, the lack of a Palestinian comprehensive national project, and even the absence of a comprehensive military leadership among the Palestinian factions; Hamas strived to change the deeply bureaucratic political system, repair what can be repaired, and then reform to the Best.

All of these aspirations of the Islamist movement have not achieved because of the international community's strict measures to allow them to govern and make relations with the international community. Hamas was ignored by the international community: the result was the Gazan's people became living in the widest open-air jail in the world.

This jail has transformed to a laboratory to the Israeli troops who tested the most destructive weapons on the people of Gaza without restraint of humanity.

If the world doesn't understand the fact of life in the Gaza strip, and deal with the outcomes of the elections as it will be, the situation will become the worst to its worse, and no one can halt the waves of extremism in the Middle East, or the waves of the frustration wrapped on the people of Gaza. Gazans need actions on the ground to make them alive as the people of the world; they can't comprehend a life with no tangible actions.


Ayman Nijim is an interpreter and strategic researcher working Pal Think for Strategic Studies, you can contact him via:





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