Pictures of President Abdel Fatah al- Sisi in Gaza – File Photo Pictures of President Abdel Fatah al- Sisi in Gaza – File Photo

In Palestine, why does Egypt succeed where others fail?

Wed, Oct. 4, 2017
CAIRO – 4 October 2017: With keen interest and anticipation, the world has been following the great Egyptian success at achieving Palestinian reconciliation and ending division. Cairo succeeded at hosting delegates from Fatah and Hamas, thus turning a dark page in Palestinian history. This dark period lasted for more than 10 years, when the Gaza Strip was involved in three wars with Israel, which destroyed Gaza’s infrastructure and pushed its youth to the brink of despair.

Many observers of the Palestinian issue have posed questions about the reason why Egypt succeeded at driving Fatah and Hamas to reconcile and end their division. Many other countries in the region had attempted to do so in the past, but failed, whereas efforts led by Egypt greatly succeeded. This has to do with the nature of geographic, political and historical ties between Egypt and Palestine, as well as Egypt’s sincere desire to protect the cause from manipulation by regional parties seeking to involve Arabs’ “quintessential cause” in international conflicts.

The recent developments in Gaza had compelled Hamas to offer more concessions, as the division grew more hostile. Hamas realized what was at stake if it continued to govern the Gaza Strip, in light of international escalations, and Israel’s attempts at separating and isolating Gaza from the West Bank. Hamas realized how dangerous Israel’s attempts were, as the international community was preoccupied with armed conflicts.

Hamas started adopting a more realistic vision in dealing with current events, as its financial crisis deepened. It embraced a new strategy, revealed in its new political charter. It separated itself from the Muslim Brotherhood and started proposing solutions for the issue, which demonstrated more flexibility in comparison to their previous ideas, and they are compatible with the Palestinian current developments.
On the other hand, the President of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, endeavored to unify Palestinians through forming a national unity government. Through this, he delivered a message to Israelis, saying that Gaza is an integral part of Palestine, and that there is no Palestine without both Gaza and the West Bank. He wanted to unify Palestine first before going through negotiations with Israel, which Egypt is attempting to facilitate with the support of the USA.

With the road paved for ending the division and achieving reconciliation, Egypt intervened and supported the agreement between Fatah and Hamas. It could provide a positive atmosphere, which contributed to defusing the crisis and taking steps toward ending the dark division, while emphasizing the unity of the Palestinian national project, without excluding any party.

Recent Egyptian successes that we witnessed throughout the past few weeks have been the fruit of years of perseverance and efforts led by Egyptian officials to alleviate the suffering of Palestinian people and to support them against the division, as well as facilitating negotiations between Fatah and Hamas. The page of the division needed to be turned, and the Gaza Strip, plagued with destruction, devastation and disease needed to be reconstructed. Egypt is making advances on the regional and international levels to support Palestinians and breathe new life into the peace process of Israel, in order to resolve the conflicts ravaging the region, where the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is central. Egypt’s advances need great international support, especially from the USA, who has the greatest influence on Israel in taking this step.

The step of the Palestinian Authority taking over Gaza was subject to great delays since the announcement of the formation of the reconciliation government. Advances were being taken to facilitate a meeting between leaders of Fatah and Hamas in Cairo to discuss the formation of a national unity government based on partnership and the Palestinian national unity project.
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