Where are we heading to?

We should work toward a national Palestinian position supported by a unified Arab position acceptable to major global powers

Dr. Nasser al-Kidwa is the former Foreign Minister of the Palestinian National Authority and the nephew of the late leader Yasser Arafat.
Al Majalla
Dr. Nasser al-Kidwa is the former Foreign Minister of the Palestinian National Authority and the nephew of the late leader Yasser Arafat.

Where are we heading to?

The situation in the Gaza Strip remains dire, with Palestinian parties appearing indifferent to the welfare of citizens and the future of the nation.

A telling example occurred when Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh offered his resignation to President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), who subsequently reappointed the same government to serve in a caretaker capacity.

There is considerable speculation about appointing Mohammad Mustafa, the head of the Palestine Investment Fund, as Prime Minister.

Should this occur, it's unlikely to herald any significant change. Rather, it could introduce further complications for the cause, the people, and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Most critically, such a government, if formed, would be ill-equipped to tackle essential tasks, including the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.

Amid these developments, there is anticipation for the Moscow meeting of parties, intended to exert maximum pressure on Hamas to relinquish some of its demands.

Yet, the forthcoming meeting is not promising.

Hamas has threatened to dismiss a government led by Mohammad Mustafa and to establish alternative structures in the Gaza Strip, separate from the West Bank—a move that is not advisable.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh announced his resignation on February 26, 2024.

These events might have been predictable and understandable before the war and the resultant catastrophic conditions.

However, given the current dire circumstances, such manoeuvres are utterly inadmissible and demand serious accountability for those at fault.

What is urgently needed is a significant and comprehensive reform of the Palestinian political system.

This includes transitioning the presidency from a controlling entity to a ceremonial role and establishing a government with full authority over both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

This transition should pave the way for general elections, as free and fair voting remains the sole solution to resolving Palestinian issues.

Rather than confronting the harsh and unpleasant reality with genuine solutions, we observe manoeuvres and tactical ploys designed solely to maintain the status quo.

These actions aim to perpetuate current power dynamics, enjoy authority without substantive change, and, notably, depend on Israeli support.

It's anticipated that various parties will strategically push their distinct objectives.

An exchange deal

While efforts are underway to broker a prisoner and detainee exchange deal that could pause hostilities, especially during Ramadan, facilitate humanitarian aid, and potentially allow displaced residents of the northern Gaza Strip to return home, a temporary period of tranquillity seems within reach.

Should this materialise, and assuming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doesn't thwart the agreement, a semblance of peace could prevail for about seven weeks.

During this interlude, various parties are expected to strategically push their distinct objectives. The fate of Netanyahu's government stands as a pivotal issue.

Its potential fall could herald significant shifts, including a change in the Palestinian dynamic, an end to hostilities, Israel's full withdrawal from Gaza, and possibly the initiation of interim security measures, like the introduction of a temporary Arab force to facilitate Gaza's handover to a newly endorsed Palestinian authority.

A primary objective will be establishing a political blueprint delineating a definitive resolution, which encompasses the formation of the State of Palestine and Israel, recognising each other within a predetermined framework.

This progress could also catalyse enhanced diplomatic ties between the Gulf states and Israel, opening a novel phase in regional relations.

Read more: Arab normalisation with Israel loses appeal amid Gaza horrors

We should work for a national Palestinian position supported by a unified Arab position acceptable to the major powers in this world.

The Palestinian role

The potential ouster of Netanyahu's administration could pave the way for what might be described as President Joe Biden's strategy to conclude the conflict and reconstruct the Middle East.

Conversely, Netanyahu's continuation in office implies a resumption of hostilities and possibly a large-scale military offensive on Rafah, potentially following efforts to lessen the area's population density.

This scenario would likely result in further suffering for the local populace, perpetuating a dire situation marked by ongoing conflict, casualties, and threats potentially until the next US electoral cycle, with only uncertain outcomes beyond that point.

The perplexing aspect in this context is the apparent willingness of certain individuals with vested interests to overlook the widespread suffering and grave risks, prioritising personal gains over national and citizen welfare.

This self-interest has led to a glaring absence of necessary Palestinian engagement in policy determination and advocacy for viable alternatives.

Consequently, the vital Arab contribution needed to formulate a cohesive vision aligned with the objectives is also missing. As the saying goes in my country, "Leave the matter to the experts."

Netanyahu has inflicted numerous adversities, fulfilling a vendetta against the Palestinian people and appeasing his coalition partners, Ben Gvir and Smotrich, with scant regard for the state's interests or future.

His primary focus remains self-preservation, his position, and his government's continuity, leaving the United States and its allies as the sole voices proposing solutions and ideas.

You're barking up the wrong tree.

Instead, we should work for a national Palestinian position supported by a unified Arab position acceptable to the major powers in this world.

This is how things can go, and may God help our people.

**This article is a direct translation from Arabic**

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