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Reconciliation, Resistance and Bad Timing

Fadi Abu Sada- History repeats itself often. As soon as dialogue began about the possibility of reconciliation between Palestinians, especially after the March 15 Youth Movement, Ismael Haniyeh of Hamas was the first to address the people’s grievances. Then, in his request to meet Hamas in Gaza, President Mahmoud Abbas appeared to push things forward. It looked as though things were headed in the right direction for the first time since the initial split between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, when, as it was said, ‘brothers became enemies’.

But now something has interrupted this path to reconciliation. On Saturday morning, people woke up to find that the al-Qassam Brigades had bombarded Israeli positions near Gaza using mortar shells, something Hamas has forbidden other Palestinian factions from doing. This drives us to question the reason and the timing for such a move.

Did orders come from Syria? Especially considering the civil revolution beginning in Damascus and other cities, is Syria looking to use us as a playing card again? Or does the Hamas leadership in Syria want to prevent President Abbas from getting to Gaza? Or, did Hamas in Gaza simply realize it does not want an end to the division called for on March 15, and decided to shake things up and bombard an Israeli post?

Whatever the case, I only see poor judgment on the part of Hamas, be it in the way that they have used force against the youth movement or how they dealt with President Abbas’s initiative to meet with them in Gaza to form a unity government; Hamas didn’t even give an official response to the President’s request to a visit to Gaza. All this leads us to believe that Hamas does not want reconciliation.

Of course, we know that powers across the world do not want reconciliation. We can see the Israeli and international effort to thwart our long-awaited resolution.  We know very well that, despite constant American pressure, President Abbas and his party manage to avoid reconciliation. But we have gotten sick of these repeated lectures from the West without their sincere efforts to help. And we got tired of the leadership of Hamas and their ignorance in politics, which is hurting them as a movement and us as people.

The recent armed escalation by the Palestinian resistance to the increased Israeli military action against Gaza doesn’t serve us at all. In fact, it works against us, because this escalation restricts the youth movement in Gaza from ending the division and also postpones the presidential visit to Gaza, a key requirement for reconciliation; a requirement to end this fraternal conflict that makes us look petty to our Arab brothers, our friends abroad, and ourselves.

Time has come for us to be wise and eschew hasty decisions for rational ones. Time has come to take the initiative and bring reconciliation between our people and our cause, without looking to Israel and what it means to us, without bowing down to the international pressure against progress. We must do this honor of all our prisoners and our youth movement—the first of its kind in our country. Because what we want is to be free from occupation and nothing else, even if we sometimes forget that.

The writer is the PNN Editor in Chief