No hope left
The likely imminent failure of factional talks will leave the Palestinian national cause crippled and domestic rifts deepened, writes Saleh Al-Naami
"I challenge Ismail Haniyeh or Mahmoud Abbas to be able to live under the circumstances I do for just three days. I'm certain that if they experienced my circumstances for just this short time, they would end the dialogue farce so as to put an end to this miserable reality," says journalist Mohamed Al-Jamal, whose house in the southern Gaza Strip's
Al-Jamal doesn't hesitate to hold Hamas and Fatah -- and their leaders -- responsible for the miserable situation he, his displaced family, and tens of thousands of other Palestinians are in. He told Al-Ahram Weekly, "If these leaders had the slightest sense of responsibility towards the Palestinian people, and particularly the families who have undergone the catastrophe of having their houses destroyed, they would have ended the rift between them and led the national dialogue to success."
Al-Jamal says that he is overcome with anger whenever he hears about the points of difference blocking a successful outcome to the dialogue, such as the voting system and the security agencies. "People don't have shelter, while the leaders are differing over elections and the security agencies, as though they were on another planet and as though the people weren't suffering a tragedy," he said.
Fury at factional leaders, and in particular those of Fatah and Hamas, is shared by most people in the Gaza Strip, knowing that reconstruction of what the occupation destroyed depends on a successful closure to the national dialogue. Mustafa Rashwan, 38, can still hardly believe that he lost his only means of living and his ability to provide for his family. He lost the barbershop he owned in
There practically isn't a person in the Gaza Strip who wasn't affected in the recent Israeli offensive.
Unfortunately, all indicators suggest that the likelihood of the dialogue succeeding is very slim. Two Fatah leaders visited the Gaza Strip last week -- Central Committee member Abdullah Al-Afranji and Revolutionary Council member Marwan Abdel-Hamid. They met with representatives of other Palestinian movements in the Strip, most prominently Hamas, but their visit produced no outcome of note. A number of faction representatives who met with Al-Afranji and Abdel-Hamid say they were not authorised to reach agreements on pivotal issues. Meanwhile, the meeting scheduled for 26 April in
One Palestinian source told the Weekly that dialogue efforts are expected to come to a halt following the next meeting, and that he fears this will only further cement the domestic rift. Among the evidence supporting belief that the next dialogue round will end in failure is the fact that most of the Palestinian factions have rejected the Egyptian proposal to form a unified national council to serve as the political authority in the
Prominent Hamas figure Salah Al-Bardweil told the Weekly that