From Division to Reconciliation? Chances and Obstacles Towards Re-unification of the Palestinian Body Politics

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On 17 October the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) together with its partner Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA) hosted a round table discussion with Dr. Muriel Asseburg from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP).

The discussion titled “From Division to Reconciliation? Chances and Obstacles Towards Re-unification of the Palestinian Body Politics” focussed on the ten-year schism between Hamas and Fatah and the most recent changes on the ground. Following an introduction by Dr. Asseburg, who shared her perspective on recent developments, the discussion encouraged the participants in expressing their opinions on challenges and chances towards reconciliation.

Despite the lack of tangible results, many participants expressed optimism towards seeing changes on the ground and a change in the humanitarian situation in Gaza in the near future. On the one hand, participants also expressed their hopes to see the European Union confirm and strengthen their commitment towards a two-state-solution. On the other hand and in the context of Mahmoud Abbas’ recent speech at the United Nations General Assembly, some participants also voiced their concern regarding the diminishing chances of implementation of a two-state-solution. Many see the Israeli occupation to be addressed too little in the current discourse by the international community and said they hoped for a more active role of the European Union.

Discussants agreed that the current legitimacy deficit in the Palestinian territories has to be overcome in order to not only reconcile Palestinian factions, but more importantly to achieve positive developments in the peace process with Israel. In this context, discussants exchanged their thoughts on the issue of a Palestinian unity government including Hamas and how it would influence the perception of Palestine internationally.

The lively and open discussion offered new points of view for all participants and included contributions regarding administration, security and international relations of the Palestinian Territories. We would like to thank all participants, our partner PASSIA and especially Dr. Muriel Asseburg from SWP Berlin for their contribution.