Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are both trading in the Palestinian cause

It is essential for the international community to realise that UNRWA has nothing to do with politics and politicking.
Sunday 23/09/2018
A 2017 file picture shows Fatah’s Azzam al-Ahmad (R) and Saleh al-Aruri (L) of Hamas signing a reconciliation deal at the Egyptian intelligence services headquarters in Cairo. (AFP)
Disconnect. A 2017 file picture shows Fatah’s Azzam al-Ahmad (R) and Saleh al-Aruri (L) of Hamas signing a reconciliation deal at the Egyptian intelligence services headquarters in Cairo. (AFP)

Is it possible to examine the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority and Gaza-based Hamas without considering that the Palestinian people did not elect its representatives nor voice its opinions via its seemingly embarrassed cultured elites?

Fatah and Hamas, with their bickering, arguments, scheming, machinations, questionable projects, occult sources of funding and hidden relations, are in one sphere, while the people who bear the brunt and tragedy of the Palestinian cause are in another, faraway sphere altogether, somewhere where they are only seen with a pitiful eye. Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are fighting for positions of influence but what and where are these coveted positions?

The problem of the Trump administration is that it does not see any difference between UNRWA, the UN body created to help Palestinian refugees, and the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s representation in the United States. This is not out of ignorance or stupidity but rather out of sly malice and a desire to confuse the facts.

Unfortunately, since the Oslo Accords, events and developments have shown that confronting the Palestinian Authority and Hamas is inseparable from harming the interests of the Palestinian people, who, because of lack of enthusiasm by the international community, still need a helping hand.

It is essential for the international community to realise that UNRWA has nothing to do with politics and politicking. Therefore, undermining UNRWA demonstrates a departure from the human values that were supposed to compensate, at least partly, for the catastrophic losses wrought by politics.

The United States, as well as other countries involved with the Palestinian question, has always been free to adopt whatever positions it finds in tune with its policies regarding the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. These policies have always been based on these countries’ strategic relationships with Israel.

The same freedom of choice can be applied in the context of the Palestinian cause itself. There are two ways of looking at this cause. One can see it as an issue involving two aspects, a purely abstract aspect involving a question of rights and a purely materialistic aspect involving the plight of an entire people.

The other way of looking at the Palestinian cause is that it has turned into a battle between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, two forces fighting over the Palestinian cause not for the lofty purposes of serving it, defending it and preserving its foundations, which relate to rights and people, but for low purpose of monopolising it as a front and milking it for their own benefits as long as circumstances allow.

Both camps have used the Palestinian cause to beg or blackmail. They’ve offered it more than once on the sacrificial altar of their interests, which do not exclude Israel, the real enemy of the Palestinian cause, an enemy that refuses to see the Palestinian rights as rights or the Palestinian people as people.

The problem faced by many trying to make sense of the political manoeuvrings between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority lies in the intentional confusion between the Palestinians as a people and the political entities that claim to represent them while using them as human shields to hide their greed.

The emotional thread tying the two, the Palestinians and their so-called representatives, should be cut off forcibly to free many of a guilt complex.

Whether in their dealings with donor countries or with Israel, the actions of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority reflect a state of disconnect between them and the Palestinian cause. They are like two merchants. They get angry when they lose and keep a silence of satisfaction when they win. This aspect has become clear to those who have a political interest in the Palestinian issue. Israel is the first to know this and is the keeper of secrets for both parties.

If Israel had wished to conclude a final settlement on its terms, it would not encounter any dissenting voices within either Hamas or the Palestinian Authority. However, Israel prefers for the two mongers to continue their business as it waits for the appropriate historical moment to launch its own project that will sidestep them. It knows that they have no future given the state of despair of the Palestinian people.

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