Only an ignorant individual would deny that Hamas has made some concessions in the Cairo talks and even beforehand. These concessions include the issue of salaries for Palestinian Authority employees in Gaza; the Constitutional Court; agreeing to the elections being held in succession; and the submission of a letter from Ismail Haniyeh, and then waiting for the presidential decree regarding several issues and other details that everyone now knows.
Hamas made concessions with the aim of getting out of this miserable, unenviable political situation. Maintaining the status quo means more unilateral political and administrative decisions and continued division. While unilateralism serves a certain group of Palestinian leaders who enjoy their privileges and are happy to make decisions without accountability or questions, the political split has become an excuse that the leadership uses to justify its failures, while the army of corrupt people who tamper with the fate of the people hide behind them. All of this means more fragmentation and the loss of the Palestinian national cause, as well as further reassurance and comfort for the occupation state, which will continue to control the outcomes of the political reality as it affects the Palestinian arena and even, it seems, in most Arab arenas.
This ramshackle Palestinian political scene, which provokes into anger anyone loyal to the country, has become a motive to seek change and bring about a new equation based on unity and partnership no matter how many concessions must be made in the process. This is what was achieved in recent months after a series of meetings of the factions’ secretaries-general and bilateral meetings, which culminated in the Cairo talks. The statement issued by the secretaries-general was adopted by them as a political programme; they chose national partnership as a way to end the division.
I must emphasise that the concessions made by Hamas to make the reconciliation a success do not reflect a state of weakness and fear, as some claim. The data on the ground indicates an improvement in living conditions and life in the Gaza Strip, although it has not reached the desired level. The State of Qatar has provided Hamas with financial assistance that enables it to stand on its own two feet at the moment, while the electricity project that the Qatari representative is working on and which has been approved by Israel, promises better economic conditions for the coastal territory.
Furthermore, Egypt has opened the border crossing and is allowing goods through, suggesting that better days lie ahead for Gaza. The leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip is confident that the resistance movement has a serious deterrence factor in its favour.
All of this confirms that the concessions offered by Hamas were aimed at ending the state of Palestinian division, political stagnation and weakness, and moving towards collective action and positive influence. Will the path to reconciliation and the elections be smooth and safe? Will the Palestinian national accord project continue? The answer lies in the organisational developments of Fatah and its impact on the election decree. We shall find out in the Cairo talks at the end of March, which hide within them the elements of success and ready-made justifications for failure.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Felesteen on 21 February 2021
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.