Articles > > SHORT-LIVED INTERMISSION

Articles - Addostour - Date: 2019-05-06
By: Oraib Al Rantawi

The tahdi'a [lull or calming down] in Gaza turned out to be only a short-lived intermission between two confrontations, and the Strip's residents are paying the high price of both war and peace, since war does not end in decisive results, and the tahdi'a does not bring salvation from an existence marked by poverty, starvation, blockade, unemployment, and the absence of any horizon for change.
 
Israel has no desire for an all-out war on Gaza, and Hamas does not want to enter a bone-breaking confrontation with Israel. The ongoing skirmishes are merely an attempt to formulate stable rules of engagement and improve the terms of a settlement based on a new formula: Tahdi'a in exchange for easing the blockade.
 
The Palestinians could have set much better negotiation terms had they waged their battle with a united front, with a single authority and under one decision. The blockade could have been dismantled and the crossings opened and all of Hamas's other demands in the indirect negotiations with Israel could have been realized and in a more efficient manner, had they all come under a national unity framework after achieving reconciliation.
 
 
The resistance's [Hamas's] primary and perhaps ultimate concern has become lifting the blockade and easing the grip of sanctions. In pursuit of those goals, the Gaza Strip has experienced three major wars and dozens of aggressions over the past few years. The Marches of Return were launched, costing the people 3000 martyrs and thousands of wounded, but without the issue of return being addressed at any meeting with any Arab or international mediators, since the entire debate has focused on easing sanctions, lifting the blockade, and restoring calm with a tahdi'a instead.
 
 
These objectives could have been attained at a lesser cost had the Palestinians learned to offer mutual concessions to each other rather than to the racist, existential enemy that seeks to supplant them.
 
No sooner does the tahdi'a break down than the Egyptian mediator moves, with convoys of UN mediators lining up behind it. This 'tahdi'a in exchange for easing the blockade' formula has been seen before, with the result of no tahdi'a settled and no sanctions lifted, and the Gazans' situation only went from bad to worse. Things appear to be no different this time around: After a few days of bloody confrontation in which the Palestinians fare the worst, we enter a short tahdi'a spiral and then get sucked into yet another confrontation, always under a lower ceiling of results, expectations, and goals.
 
 
This is not how to advance down the path of achieving our national project, or even a single one of its phases. Our national project is only suffering greater deterioration and setbacks, and danger besets it from all sides. The Zionist project advances to swallow more of our rights and lands day by day, imposing more facts on the ground and receiving increasing international legitimacy, at times even from the countries and international groups that have always automatically voted in the Palestinians' favor. This is no longer the case today. Israel is making advances in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and the General Assembly's voting results reveal a significant downturn in the extent of global support for the Palestinian cause.
 
 
All this pales in comparison to how seemingly important it is for the [Fatah/Hamas] 'enemy-brethren' to pursue their game of beating each other, with all the ensuing exclusion and eradication, or how important it is that we continue to offer concessions to our cause and our people's enemy, while we remain unable to even draft a joint statement between ourselves.
 
 
This is a totally deplorable situation that the Palestinian people are paying the price for, especially those who fall under the line of fire in the Gaza Strip and who are always called upon to pay a blood sacrifice at the altar of internal division.
 
 
And for what? To restore the de facto [Hamas] authority rather than to make substantial or even limited progress towards realizing the Palestinian national project or even one of its phases or objectives?