Dr Saleh al-Naami
The barriers to signing a ceasefire between the Palestinian resistance and the Israeli Occupation cannot be limited to the great disparity between the terms of the Israeli Occupation and the Palestinian resistance or the Palestinian Authority’s stance towards it. Rather, the disparity between the Palestinian factions’ stances towards the ceasefire represents another barrier to reaching such an agreement.
The blackout imposed on the Palestinian factions’ meetings in Cairo and their stances towards the ceasefire cannot conceal the fact that the disparity between the Palestinian factions’ positions hinders reaching a ceasefire with the Israeli Occupation.
Despite the considerable disputes between the leadership of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA), some factions seem enthusiastic about agreeing to any agreement that overcomes the PLO and the PA.
The factions’ enthusiasm about reaching the ceasefire means that it must be preceded by a national reconciliation, yet the factions, along with Hamas, will not agree to Abbas’ tyrannical conditions to achieve the internal reconciliation, including disarmament of the Palestinian resistance, which the Israeli Occupation didn’t dare to set during the previous ceasefire talks.
Hamas seems to be in hot water, as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, despite being the two major parties, cannot reach an indirect ceasefire agreement with the Israeli Occupation without the other factions’ consent taking into consideration that Hamas will be responsible for the consequences of any breach to the ceasefire agreement.
Hamas who carries the burden of managing the Gaza Strip is interested in reaching a ceasefire to pave the way for improving the humantarian and economic situation in Gaza and alleviate the Palestinians’ suffering in the coastal enclave.
Hamas realizes that going into an all-out conflict with the Israeli Occupation will be a matter of time if the ceasefire agreement wasn’t reached.
However, the disputes between the Palestinian factions cannot hinder implementations of the first phase of the ceasefire agreement, which includes agreeing to the Egypt-brokered 2014 understandings.
On the contrary, the second phase of the ceasefire agreement, which paves the way for setting up large infrastructure projects in Gaza, may deter the Palestinian factions from taking part in the ceasefire talks, as some of the proposed projects are planned to be carried out in neighboring countries, including the Sinai Peninsula, raising fears of connecting the ceasefire agreement with the ‘deal of the century’.
Thus, the Palestinian factions may agree to the implementation of the first phase of the agreement as part of the ‘calm from the Israeli Occupation will be met by calm from the Palestinian resistance' equation, while the different sides continue to exert effort to make progress in the reconciliation issue and convince the PA to hold its responsibility towards the Gaza Strip.
Such option will not only serve the Palestinian factions’ interests but Egypt and the United Nations are also interested in such an option, as they believe that the second phase of the agreement cannot be implemented without the PA’s consent.
Despite the tensions between the PA’s President Mahmoud Abbas and the Egyptian President, Egypt is enthusiastic about the PA’s return to Gaza to hold its responsibility towards the coastal enclave.