MIDDLE EAST

After years of deprivation, Gaza opens its doors again

Finally, Gaza’s leadership opens its doors with arms wide open to the Palestinian Authority to end their dispute, release its detainees, and to hand over the keys to the local administration.

This is an important political and humanitarian deal and the credit for it goes to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s government, the first to succeed in a decade.

If the agreement takes full course, and if Ramallah and Gaza’s leaders cooperate, one of the worst humanitarian disasters created by politicians would come to an end.

Also read: Palestinian rivals declare three stages to end decade-long split

There is no doubt that Gaza’s leaders, who have drifted along with Qatar’s adventures and Iranian intransigence, bear most of the burden during this difficult phase. The population of the densely inhibited strip have suffered for 10 painful years.

For a decade, these people have endured devastating wars without a political aim, and their factions in the sector have fought between extremists and extreme extremists. Trade was prohibited, tunnels were blocked, swimming in the sea was forbidden, and fishermen were constrained.

It all started when the airport, which symbolized the promise for peace and a better future, was closed. Most of Gaza’s news became the crossing point, when will it open to transport humanitarian supplies.

It is an important sign that Gaza is returning to Ramallah. It indicates that Palestinian leadership is capable of speaking for all Palestinians

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Personal rivalries

Their suffering was not a national endeavor or a political necessity; it was just nonsense, a load of disagreements and personal rivalry over leadership. Although we cannot yet be certain that the new agreement will last until we see it as stable and effective for a few weeks and months. Despite this concern though this remains the best that has been done in years.

Can Rami Hamdallah’s government run the strip and coexist with Hamas simultaneously? Will differences be forgotten, set aside and replaced with cooperation to bring the strip back to the West Bank?

Also read: Palestinian PM arrives in Gaza, first visit since 2015

There are many old reasons that make the task difficult. Even if it succeeds today, it may not last, and that is due to one reason; Gaza’s tragedy cannot be abandoned to persist, whether Palestinian, Arab or international.

It is an important sign that Gaza is returning to Ramallah. It indicates that the Palestinian leadership is capable of speaking on behalf of all Palestinians. The reconciliation ends Israelis’ justifications – who reject peace – citing that “Hamas,” Islamic Jihad”, and the rest of the armed opposition movements as the cause of past peace attempts’ failures.

Reconciliation and initiative

Reconciliation opens the door to any international desire to launch a new initiative. Even if a serious peace project is not born, at least it is possible to reform the internal Palestinian situation, which has been shattered by conflict over authority.

Egypt’s return is an important new peace factor. It was Egypt who was responsible for taking care of the Gaza Strip, had the Qatari-Iranian interventions not been aimed at striking the Egyptian role – which resulted in creating a wall of fear and closing the strip.

Egypt has been a tried and tested mediator during the 10-year Palestinian-Palestinian conflict even though it failed to succeed. However, this is the first time we see a glimmer of hope in ending the conflict between two brothers.

Also read: Hezbollah leader Nasrallah says Israel pushing region to war

All that is required is the sincerity of intentions, so that authority does not descend into total hegemony, nor does it become victim of a Hamas trick. They shouldn’t seek to open the crossings and overcome the crisis to meet their own vested interest, and then return to disagreement and estrangement.

Reconciliation and the opening of Gaza may be the beginning of stability in the region and a sign of receding regional chaos.

This article is also available in Arabic.
_____________________
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 4 October 2017 KSA 09:38 - GMT 06:38
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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