Unity is Not Enough

The reconciliation between the leaders of the two major Palestinian groups, Hamas and Fatah, that has just been negotiated in Saudi Arabia is being hailed as a major political breakthrough. But the national unity government created as a result of this agreement faces many daunting challenges. The agreement needs to be followed by an effort to end the economic and administrative siege of Palestine, as well as serious peace talks with Israel aimed at ending the 39-year occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. At home, the new government needs to pay its civil servants, restore law and order, and end the chaos that has become the norm in the Palestinian territories.

The internal fighting in Palestine began in part as a result of the political impasse caused after Israel and the international community imposed an economic embargo on the Palestinian Authority. This economic siege, zealously enforced even by Arab and Islamic banks, followed the new Hamas-led government’s refusal to accept the demand by the “quartet” – the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia – that it recognize Israel, accept all previous agreements with Israel, and renounce terrorism.

Palestinians complained that the international community acted unjustly, simply because they were unhappy with the result of a free and fair election in the Palestinian territories, which Hamas won overwhelmingly. The government created after the January 2006 elections has been unable to pay civil servants because of the international banking blockade and the refusal of Israel to transfer millions of tax dollars collected on behalf of the Palestinian people.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/i2sqpUn;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.