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State of Palestine elusive solution to conflict

By LI YANG | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-02-28 07:17

Smoke rises during an Israeli ground operation in Khan Younis as seen from a tent camp sheltering displaced Palestinians in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip on Feb 22. [Photo/Agencies]

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh announced the resignation of his government on Monday, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accepted it later the same day.

That move paves the way for a shake-up in the Palestinian National Authority that is conducive to putting an end to the de facto split between Fatah, which dominated the PNA that governs the West Bank, and Gaza, which has been seen as being a Palestinian enclave under Hamas' control, since 2007.

Reportedly, Russia has already invited the two sides, along with other Palestinian factions, to hold negotiations with the aim of forming a unified governing body, toward which most of the invitees held an open attitude.

Although both the United States and Israel would also like to see that, there is a big gap between what they want from the future Palestinian governing body and what the Palestinian people want from it. Not to mention the difficulty in forming an authority that can please all sides at the same time given the differences between them as exposed in 2007.

It remains to be seen to what extent the Gaza conflict can prompt the different Palestinian factions to shelve their disputes and pool their efforts to realize the common goal of founding an independent and sovereign state of Palestine.

Based on the two-state solution of the United Nations, apart from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Palestine State should include East Jerusalem, which Israel has occupied since 1967, and some other areas that Israel has exercised de facto control over in the past decades.

But even if Fatah and Hamas can join hands temporarily in the face of common external threats, it might be very difficult for Washington and Tel Aviv to accept such a Palestinian State. What they want to see is a Hamas-free Gaza that Israel exercises actual control over and a US-friendly West Bank controlled by a US-proxy government.

Abbas is expected to choose Mohammad Mustafa, chairman of the Palestine Investment Fund, as the next prime minister. Mustafa is a US-educated economist who has held senior positions in the World Bank and has a good, longstanding working relationship with US officials. If so, whether the Moscow-brokered negotiations of different Palestinian factions can yield their expected results remains to be seen.

One thing the West must bear in mind is that the bloodshed in Gaza has only consolidated the Palestinian people's determination to protect their own lives and rights to an overdue statehood, rather than subjugating it.


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