Gaza: There is rising speculation that Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) could form part of a new government under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority to run the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Such a proposal – among the options presented by Egypt as diplomats across the globe search for a way to end the four-month war in Gaza – would be part of moves toward a two-state solution, widely seen as the main chance for lasting peace and backed by the United States.
Ways in which the Palestinians would get to form a proper state within the borders set in 1967 are seen by a range of countries as the best means of opening a path to the return of negotiations between them and the Israelis on a long-term settlement.
But after the 7 October attacks, any potential involvement of Hamas and PIJ in any such settlement is one of the most challenging parts of moves towards peace.
The state-building process that would be involved – under international and United Nations supervision – and the framework that would be set up for any new Palestinian Authority is already difficult, with or without the added challenge of including Hamas and PIJ.
They would also need to move on from their opposition to the existing PA in the occupied West Bank and their rejection of the Oslo Agreements, signed in 1993 by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and Israel, which underpins the PA.
Whatever else, the need for peace is clear and a global issue of paramount importance. Israel’s war on Gaza has destroyed the northern half of Gaza and forced more than two-thirds of the population there to flee south.
As efforts to end the war continue, Al Majalla looks at the origins and development of the groups that will help define what happens next at this pivotal moment for the Palestinian people and their cause, the wider region, and the world.
This is the story of Hamas and PIJ.