Palestinians say they look forward to working with Biden administration

“Trump and his senior advisers were hoping to get rid of the current Palestinian leadership.”

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the 2019 Second Step Presidential Justice Forum at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, U.S. October 26, 2019 (photo credit: REUTERS/SAM WOLFE)
Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the 2019 Second Step Presidential Justice Forum at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, U.S. October 26, 2019
(photo credit: REUTERS/SAM WOLFE)
Leaders of the ruling Palestinian faction Fatah and Hamas have resumed their efforts to end the dispute between the two sides as the Palestinian leadership prepares to engage with a new US administration under Joe Biden.
Fatah and Hamas are hoping to reach agreement on holding long overdue presidential and parliamentary elections and ending the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip so that the Palestinians would be able to appear united before a Biden administration, Palestinian sources said on Monday.
“The goal is to show the Biden administration that the Palestinians are united and are ready to work toward achieving an independent Palestinian state,” the sources explained. “Since 2007, when Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip, many in the international community have used the Hamas-Fatah rivalry as an excuse to argue that the Palestinians are not capable of solving their differences and are therefore not ready to have their own state.”
The dispute between Fatah and Hamas has resulted in the creation of two separate Palestinian entities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Several attempts by a number of Arab countries to resolve the dispute have been unsuccessful, especially in wake of Hamas’s refusal to relinquish control of the Gaza Strip.
“We have to be united if we want the new US administration to take us seriously,” a senior Fatah official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post. “Many Americans and Europeans keep telling us, ‘You Palestinians already have two states, one in the West Bank and another in the Gaza Strip, and you can’t agree on anything, including holding elections.’”
Since July, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction have been making a renewed effort to end their dispute so as to “confront Israeli and US conspiracies” against the Palestinians.
US President Donald Trump’s plan for Mid East peace, known as Peace to Prosperity, and Israel’s since-shelved intention to apply its sovereignty over portions of the West Bank, have seen Abbas and Fatah move faster toward Hamas.
In the past few months, Fatah and Hamas have held a series of meetings in Turkey, Qatar, Syria, Egypt and the Gaza Strip in an attempt to reach an agreement on holding new elections for the PA presidency and parliament, the Palestine Legislative Council.
The last presidential election, which brought Abbas to power, was held in January 2005. The last parliamentary election was held a year later and resulted in a Hamas victory.
The Hamas delegation that is currently in Cairo is headed by Saleh Arouri, deputy head of the movement’s “political bureau,” while the Fatah team is led by Jibril Rajoub, secretary-general of the Fatah Central Committee.
Rajoub has been entrusted by Abbas with the task of negotiating with Hamas on ways of ending the dispute between the two sides and reaching an agreement on holding elections.
Several senior Fatah officials, however, are said to be unhappy with the apparent rapprochement with Hamas on the pretext that the Islamist movement’s alliance with Iran and Turkey is harmful to the Palestinians’ national interests. Other Fatah officials are opposed to Rajoub leading the “reconciliation” talks with Hamas because they believe he is seeking to bolster his standing among Palestinians in order to strengthen his chances of succeeding the 84-year-old Abbas.
During their stay in Cairo, the Fatah and Hamas officials are also expected to hold meetings with senior Egyptian intelligence officers who are in charge of the “Palestinian portfolio” in Egypt’s General Intelligence Service.
The Egyptians, who have long been acting as mediators between Fatah and Hamas, were reported to have expressed reservations about Turkey’s increased attempts to meddle in the internal affairs of the Palestinians. Relations between Egypt and Turkey have been strained since the 2013 overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohammed Morsi, who was backed by Ankara.
“We believe the Biden administration will revive the two-state solution and work toward resuming the peace process between the Palestinians and Israel,” a PA official told the Post.
Asked whether a unity deal with Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the US and EU, would have a negative impact on the Palestinian leadership’s dealings with the Americans and Europeans, the official said: “The reconciliation is an internal Palestinian issue and no one has the right to veto it. The unity will actually strengthen the Palestinian leadership and show that it has a mandate from our people to take important decisions.”