Forget reconciling the two main Palestinian political factions—Hamas and Fatah can’t even agree that an invitation was sent to attend the same event. After a spokesman for Fatah announced that all Palestinian factions had been invited to the party’s seventh congress next week, including Hamas, a Hamas spokesman denied the invitation had even been sent, reported the Ma’an News Agency.
Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qasim told Ma’an they wouldn’t get involved in Fatah’s internal disagreements, while calling for a united government overall. But with over eight years of division that has seen Hamas rule Gaza while Fatah effectively controls the West Bank, the two sides sound quite far apart.
That’s certainly the sentiment felt by the Palestinian population. The Palestinian Center for Public Opinion recently released a poll saying that 51% of Palestinians are pessimistic the two parties can reconcile, versus just 29% who are optimists.
Despite the sometimes violent disunity between the two factions, multiple attempts at reconciliation have been made, at times with great fanfare. The leadership of the two factions even met in late October face-to-face and discussed reconciliation, according to the Hamas website, Nonetheless, practical unity has been elusive so far.
After the first joint elections in almost a decade were postponed last September and have to yet to be definitively rescheduled, it’s unclear what will bring the two divided sides together. And if they can’t even agree on who’s invited to what meeting, getting together is going to be that much more difficult.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, November 21, 2016)