A democratic gathering to break the polarity of Fatah and Hamas and end their division

Mervat Sadiq-Ramallah

In a mass rally to launch the largest coalition of Palestinian democratic forces in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Saturday, Fatima Rabie (70 years old) shouted: "Fatah, Hamas unity is the demand of all people." "We want unity and a halt to wrong decisions," she said.

She is a community activist from the village of Beit Anan, surrounded by Israeli settlements near occupied Jerusalem. She is concerned about the separation of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank and the establishment of the so-called "American-Israeli Century Deal".

These concerns are raised by the Palestinian Democratic Rally, which was launched by a coalition of five Palestinian forces: the Popular and Democratic Front, the Palestinian People's Party and the Fida Party, as well as the National Initiative. And seeks to break the polarity of the Islamic resistance movements (Hamas) and the Palestinian national liberation (Fatah) in the Palestinian arena and end their division.

During a mass rally, hundreds of participants raised slogans calling for unity and ending the sanctions that the Palestinian Authority accuses of imposing on the Gaza Strip, and not to harm the public freedoms and form a resistance to normalization with the Israeli occupation.

Omar Shehadeh warns of civil war and fighting similar to what happened in 2007 (Al Jazeera)

The leader of the Popular Front Omar Shehadeh said that the new assembly aims to put forward a national rescue plan in light of the dangers facing the Palestinian people because of the continued division and fears of total separation.

Shehadeh believes that the Palestinians will be on the verge of civil war and fighting similar to what happened in 2007 between Fatah and Hamas if there is no national rescue plan, especially after the recent wave of escalation between the two parties, which ended with the withdrawal of power representatives at the Rafah crossing, Of Hamas' attempt to secede with a Gaza-based oasis, and the announcement by President Mahmoud Abbas of dissolving the Legislative Council, the majority of which is Hamas.

Shehadeh said that the movement of the democratic forces in a united group is beginning to create a path of all currents and independents in order to end the division and get out of the current crisis and work to bring down the so-called deal of the century, as well as the law of Israeli nationalism and promote Palestinian resistance as the only alternative through national unity.

According to Shehadeh, the group will not only include the forces of the left, but all the Palestinian people, and its goal is to break what he called the "vicious circle" resulting from the bi-polarization between Fatah and Hamas.

He called on President Abbas to take the responsibility to block the plans for fighting and sabotage the civil peace and stop the media and political arrests. But he also expressed the group's demands to stop human rights violations, secure a dignified living and social protection for the people, and stop what he called "tampering with the Palestinian budget for the security services at the expense of the economy of steadfastness."

Hani al-Masri believes that the Palestinians want a third force but with a new vision (Al-Jazeera)

Popular pressure
The Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative, Mustafa Barghouthi, spoke about the mechanisms of applying the slogans of the assembly. He said that the popular pressure in the street will be the first, with the holding of unified demonstrations in all cities of the West Bank and Gaza.

According to Barghouthi, the assembly has a leadership called the steering committee, representing all the national forces and currents. He said that this leadership will be in contact with the Fatah and Hamas leadership to achieve unity.

The leader of the Democratic Front, Ramzi Rabah, summarized the group's vision of ending the division as an essential necessity to resist the American Century deal, Israel's expansionist plans, the formation of a national unity government and the convening of a meeting of the PLO's provisional leadership framework with the participation of all factions to approve a national program, And new elections for the PLO National Council to renew all national institutions.

Rabah stressed the need to implement the decisions of the National Council in previous sessions to cancel security coordination and economic agreements between the Authority and Israel and withdraw the recognition from Israel and leave "the illusion of a return to bilateral negotiations with them."

He said that the strength of this gathering stemmed from the expression of a broad popular movement that wants to end the division, and that it will not be satisfied with the demands. It will also present a road map with steps that are binding on the parties. A close political initiative.

Third Power
According to analyst Hani al-Masri, the new assembly must present a new working model for popular pressure to bring about change, and thus the Palestinian people, who paid a high price for the split, will join.

Al-Masri believes that the Palestinian arena is ready to receive a third force to influence Fatah and Hamas. Polls show that about one-third of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza want a new political move or model.

Al-Masri believes that this gathering will have a weight in any upcoming elections and in any pressure movement if the national interests prevail over the interests of the parties and if they stand up to the pressure exerted by the "parties to the division" and if it is not intended to seek a quota in the political system.

According to the latest survey by the Palestinian Center for Survey Research at the end of last December, 69% of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza will participate in parliamentary elections if they take place.

In a very close result, 35% will vote for Fatah, 34% will vote for Hamas, and the other lists will receive 10%. Twenty-one percent of respondents said they did not decide who would vote, the category the Democratic Rally seeks to attract in its new movement.

REF: https://www.aljazeera.net/news/politics/2019/1/12/%d8%aa%d8%ac%d9%85%d8%b9-%d8%af%d9%8a%d9%85%d9%82%d8%b1%d8%a7%d8%b7%d9%8a-%d9%81%d8%aa%d8%ad-%d9%88%d8%ad%d9%85%d8%a7%d8%b3-%d8%a7%d9%86%d9%82%d8%b3%d8%a7%d9%85%d8%a7%d8%aa-%d9%81%d9%84%d8%b3%d8%b7%d9%8a%d9%86