News Analysis: Political division drives wedge as Palestinian factions seek unity against Israel

The persistent political division will make it difficult for Palestinian factions to achieve unity despite the fact that they have activated a unified peaceful resistance against Israel which recently announced its U.S.-sponsored normalization with two Gulf Arab states, Palestinian analysts said.

On Sept. 3, secretary-generals of 14 Palestinian factions, including the Hamas movement, ruler of the Gaza Strip, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement, joined an online meeting chaired by Abbas held in Ramallah and Lebanon’s capital Beirut.

During the meeting, they agreed upon the formation of a Unified National Leadership for Popular Resistance that targets Israel and its normalization with Arab countries.

However, the Palestinian factions, said Ahmad Rafiq Awwad, an assistant professor at Al-Quds University, must fill “the gap between them and their people” at first.

Despite soft phrases used in the first pamphlet of the unified leadership that focused on unity between the factions, “whether the idea succeeds or not depends on the interpretation of their decisions at the grassroots and the public interaction,” Awwad noted.

Muhanad Abdulhamid, a Ramallah-based political analyst and a writer, told Xinhua that the priority for the Palestinians is to end the internal division, mainly between Fatah and Hamas, “to unify politically and geographically.”

“Unity is the only way to confront the Israeli plans, not only among the Palestinian factions, but also among all Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, so that they can achieve their legitimate rights and self-determination,” said Abdulhamid.

The unprecedented Palestinian meeting came after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain decided to sign normalization deals with Israel under the auspices of Washington.

The Palestinians have firmly rejected the U.S. Middle East peace plan, better known as the Deal of the Century, which was formally unveiled by U.S. President Donald Trump in January, and consider it a conspiracy to liquidate the Palestinian cause.

It is worth noting that Arab and international mediation has so far failed to end an internal division between Fatah and Hamas which has lasted more than 13 years.