A NEW unity between all Palestinian factions against the common enemy – Israel and the US – is rapidly developing. The leadership of the Palestinian people in the West Bank, Fatah, and the leadership of the Palestinians in Gaza, Hamas, have agreed to hold the first elections in Palestine in nearly 15 years.
Polls will be scheduled within six months under a deal agreed by Fatah and Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas political chief Ismail Haniya. The last Palestinian parliamentary elections were held in 2006 when Hamas won by an unexpected landslide.
Fatah and Hamas have made a number of attempts at reconciliation, including a prisoner exchange agreement in 2012 and a short-lived unity government two years later. Those attempts failed. However, the situation in which this latest attempt at reconciliation takes place is driven by the absolute necessity of defending the homeland and declaring the Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The latest attacks on Palestine have been orchestrated by US President Trump.
On May 14, 2018, Trump opened the US embassy in Jerusalem, announcing it to be the capital of Israel. On January 28, 2020, Trump unveiled his ‘Deal of the Century’. The plan rejects a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem, and allows Israel to annex the Jordan Valley and West Bank settlements. He then actively worked on a number of Arab nations to stab the Palestinians in the back.
US president Trump bribed the leadership of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to ‘normalise’ relations with Israel with the promise of receiving US F-35 fighter planes in return. He overruled Israel on this issue. Bahrain then followed suit and the three countries, Bahrain-Israel-UAE signed the deal in Washington on September 13.
The Arab League refused to condemn the UAE and Bahrain for their recognition of the state of Israel. After the Arab League’s betrayal, Palestine stood down from its role as chair of the Arab League.
These acts of betrayal and Trump and Netanyahu’s determination to see Israel annex the majority of the West Bank have driven Fatah and Hamas, the main Palestinian factions, together to form a united front to confront Zionism and imperialism.
The agreement between Fatah and Hamas to hold elections was reached at a special meeting in Istanbul in Turkey on Thursday. Fatah said the talks in Turkey with Hamas were ‘positive, fruitful, and productive’.
PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi said: ‘The promising developments emerging from talks between Fatah and Hamas are welcome news for the Palestinian people. Ending the ongoing rift in the political system is a pressing priority that is long overdue.
‘Most importantly, agreement on holding elections sends a positive signal of seriousness and commitment to the Palestinian people in their right to exercise ownership of the political system and choose their representatives.’
This is a major leap forward for the Palestinian people.
There is no doubt that the Palestinian government that emerges out of the proposed general election will establish a Palestinian government and proclaim the Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Here in the UK, the vast majority of the population is solidly behind the Palestinians. The TUC at its Congress voted last week that: ‘The TUC policy must prioritise Palestinians’ rights to freedom, justice and equality, including by applying these principles based on international law to all UK trade with Israel.’
It added: ‘The TUC needs to condemn the ongoing injustices against the Palestinians, denied their right to self-determination since the British Mandate, and during the 1948 Nakba when Palestinians were forcibly displaced from their homes.’
Also, ‘The TUC needs to commit to raise the pressure on corporations complicit in arms trading and supporting Israel’s illegal occupation and settlement building, by working with its affiliated unions, with the international trade union movement …’
When the Palestinians form their government, the TUC must organise mass demonstrations and strike actions to support the establishment of the Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital and make the UK government recognise the state of Palestine.