Articles > > Popping with Passion

Articles - Addostour - Date: 2019-07-01
By: Oraib Al Rantawi

We heralded the Palestinians' unified position in rejecting the 'deal of the century' and the Manama workshop (as did many others) as we followed the different factions' enthusiastic speeches during the demonstrations and spontaneous vigils, watching spokespersons from either side of the [inter-Palestinian] split sweating profusely, their jugular veins nearly popping with exertion in their passion and determination to restore unity and a popular consensus.
And yet, nothing of note has been achieved on the road to reconciliation and restoring unity. Nothing has changed in the Palestinians' everyday lives on either side of the occupied and besieged Palestinian homeland. The next morning, they resumed their schedule as usual, as if raucous talk of unity was sufficient to restore it, or at least to absolve themselves of bearing the brunt of its absence. Even more dangerous is the fact that there is nothing on the horizon to suggest that any further step forward will be taken on this thorny road soon, or in the foreseeable future.
The split has become one of the bitter realities on the Palestinian arena, and all promises of dispelling it dissipate as soon as the speakers conclude their sanctimonious sermons and disembark from the pulpit. The Palestinians are obsessed with unity rhetorically, but they let no opportunity to deepen their divisions pass by in practice. This is the naked truth, and it has become even more naked and uglier than ever before in light of the Israeli right-wing's policies and those of the U.S. populist right.
Neither Jerusalem, nor al-Aqsa, nor the Golan are sufficient cause to restore unity, nor are the conspiracies against the refugees and UNRWA, or the anticipated [Israeli] decision to annex large areas of the West Bank – perhaps before the end of this year – or the unknown fate that awaits the principles of [Palestinian] self-determination and an independent state, or even siege, isolation, and abandonment from their own kin. None of these are sufficient to spur the parties to climb down from the tree-top, discard their narrow, petty interests and turn towards the supreme national interest instead. If all these conspiracies are not sufficient to unite the Palestinians, what could possibly unite them?
We should abandon our delusions and stop wagering on their sense of honor and altruism when they have nothing of the sort to offer. No voice clamors louder than the voice of their narrow personal and factional interests. It is time to revisit a proposal we put forward over two years ago: The Iraqi Kurdistan model. Let us assume that Gaza and Ramallah could become something like Sulaymaniyah and Erbil in terms of their government and parliament, in practice as part of a federation, with shadow governments managing the two parts of the nation, at least until further notice.
Let us grant Gaza to Hamas and the West Bank to Fatah, although both sides are still under Israeli occupation and siege, and make arrangements on that basis in the hope that a new dynamic would emerge under an amorphous sort of unity that would end up by dismantling Fatah's mini-state in the West Bank and the Hamas emirate in Gaza. Then, someday, hopefully not in the too-distant future, all the Palestinians could come together an attempt to revitalize their national movement – I say 'movement' rather than the Palestinian political system, since there can be no true regime under occupation and siege, especially after it has become clear that a [Palestinian] state is nowhere within reach and may never again be a realizable option for the people and their national movement.
The old saying 'Let not the perfect be the enemy of the good,' is often used to sum up political pragmatism, and it is quite right. If it is impossible to achieve complete unity under ideal conditions, the very least that can be done is to keep the ball rolling between the two parts of the nation and begin to bridge politics, institutions, and geography after the divide has widened. Such a scenario could pave the path for emerging from the cocoon of division one day, and any arrangements made along that path could serve transitional purposes.
"Otherwise, there will be no horizon in the foreseeable future for reconciliation between the 'enemy [Fatah/Hamas] brethren' whose mutual hostility sometimes, if not most of the time, transcends that towards their national enemy, especially during their private councils and closed sessions out of view of cameras, mediators, or public opinion.