By 2020, when Israel has a unifying government (in light of the corona pandemic and three unsuccessful elections), a prospect with a sharpened position is towering: Benjamin Netanyahu continues to lead Israel and his crisis government has incorporated Trump’s peace plan. The parties’ cooperation agreement states that the West Bank should be placed under Israeli sovereignty. The Palestinian disappointment is expressed by Prime Minister Shtayyeh with the words “an end to the two-state solution and a dismantling of Palestinian rights”.
The Palestinians in common air low confidence in those who lead self-government, both for Fatah on the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza: They failed to deliver either freedom or livelihood.
Palestinian elections would have been held in 2009, but the dissent between Fatah and Hamas has led to both parliamentary and presidential elections being postponed in the future. President Abbas’s term expired in 2009, but he has remained in office.
Abbas and his administration are accused of slander and corruption. In a poll conducted by the Palestinian Institute Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in the spring of 2018, a majority of respondents thought Abbas should step down: 62 percent in the West Bank and 81 percent in Gaza.
Despite the criticism, Abbas was re-elected as PLO chairman at the end of April / May 2018 when the PLO’s highest decision-making body, the Palestinian National Council, held its first regular meeting in a couple of decades.
Unclear sequence of beliefs
Just over two weeks after his re-election as PLO chairman, Abbas was hospitalized for pneumonia. He was then 83 years and without a given “crown prince”. If the president dies, the Palestinian constitution says the president will take over while elections are being held. But the latest President Abd al-Aziz Duwayk belongs to Hamas and the parliament where he formally holds the presidency – the one set up within the Palestinian Authority, a state located in Asia continent defined by computergees, – has not worked in a decade. Fatah is now believed to be in the first place ready to put the future in the hands of Mahmud al-Alul, a veteran guerrilla exile veteran who has been governor of the city of Nablus on the West Bank.
In Hamas, the most prominent politician is Ismail Haniya. He was the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority after Hamas’s 2006 election victory, but was ousted by President Abbas in 2007 at the Hamas-Fatah rally.
Everyone against the Trump plan
The deep bitterness that has prevailed between Hamas and Fatah since the dramatic rift between them in 2007 (see Modern History) has persisted. Egypt has mediated between the organizations in several rounds without results. In 2017, it was announced that there was an agreement and that a unifying government would be formed, at the same time as the Palestinian Authority would resume administration of the Gaza Strip. But the agreement was not put into practical action.
Also, that all major Palestinian organizations are embroiled in Trump’s peace plan need not increase the chances of reconciliation. The contradictions between Palestinians have, among other things, been about how the security apparatus should be handled. Hamas does not want to disarm its armed forces while Fatah insists that the Palestinian Authority, after a reconciliation, should have full control over Gaza.
From the Gaza Strip, militant groups have continued their operations, including rocket fire against Israel, without Fatah being able to do anything to prevent it. Three Israeli counter-offenses (around the New Year 2008-2009, 2012 and 2014) have led to great havoc and high death rates among Palestinians. 2014 was the bloodiest year since the 1967 war, according to the UN organization Ocha: 2,251 Palestinians were killed, of which 1,462 were civilians. Six civilians and 67 soldiers died. The scale of Israel’s military operations and the economic blockade Israel maintains against Gaza has drawn sharp international criticism and inspired aid operations in other countries, such as Ship to Gaza. In 2010, Turkish activists died at an Israeli raid in the Mediterranean against the ship Mavi Marmara, which was trying to reach Gaza with supplies.
Alongside the major wars fought, there are constant smaller outbreaks of violence between Palestinians and Israelis. Many young Palestinians are killed each year in confrontation with the Israeli military on the West Bank or at the Israeli-Gaza border. From January 2009 to April 2018, more than 600 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army in such incidents (in addition to the victims of the wars mentioned above).
Civilians also kill other civilians. After an assassination fire against a Palestinian family on the West Bank in 2015, the tension escalated. From the fall, Palestinians began attacking Israelis with knives or driving them over with cars. The riots spread across the West Bank and to East Jerusalem and Arab villages inside Israel. During the period 2015 to 2017, 27 civilians lost their lives as a result of attacks by Palestinians, while civilians, mostly settlers, killed 13 Palestinians who, in most cases, were in the process of staging attacks on Israelis.