Written by: Rajab Abu Siriya

Ending the division seems to have started to actually turn around this time. We say this while we are apprehensive about the set of failures that accompanied our expectations previously, when it appeared that the internal dispute had been set aside by the parties. However, hope was soon dissipated and expectations collapsed when the division continued.

The holding of the Secretaries-General meeting in Ramallah and Beirut in the middle of last year was the last time there were optimistic expectations, as it came in light of Israel’s annexation plan and the so-called “Deal of the Century.” This time, things are going on quietly, far from the interference of regional countries. Hamas wants a national unity government, that is, partnership and ending the division. The Fatah Movement and the Palestinian Authority see elections as a gateway to end the division.

We do not want to go into the details of the previous disagreement over the mechanisms of ending the division, but it is clear that Hamas is no longer insisting on ensuring partnership and forming a unity government first, but rather has agreed that elections are the magic key to ending the division. This means that the Palestinian Legislative Council will be dissolved. Previously, it tried to make the Legislative Council’s dissolution coincide with the dissolution of the Palestinian National Council, through its firm position of calling for simultaneous elections. Currently, it accepted the holding of successive elections. Thus, in recent days, discussions revolved around the agenda of legislative, presidential and National Council elections.

Thus, President Mahmoud Abbas’s meeting with Dr. Hanna Nasir, Chairman of the Central Elections Committee, was to set the timetable for this sequence. After the meeting, Dr. Nasir announced the Committee’s readiness to hold elections in principle, that is, in terms of preparing and updating electoral lists and forming special election committees. However, there are still small details related to what will be implemented on the ground to guarantee the holding of elections, especially in the Gaza Strip, in addition to the fact that the holding of elections requires four months, 120 days, from the date of issuance of presidential decrees. After Hamas sent President Abbas a written letter of approval to hold elections as a step to achieve partnership and unity, it was confirmed that the presidential decrees will be issued no later than the 20th of January 2021.

Perhaps it was a coincidence that the set date comes in conjunction with President Trump’s exit from the White House. The holding of Palestinian elections may come after the Israeli elections, which will be held next March. Therefore, there may be two different leaderships that are ready to start a new relationship through negotiations with the presence of a new US administration.

If it is certain that the elections for the Israeli Knesset will be held in March, then the holding of Palestinian elections remains uncertain until the moment that decrees are actually issued. If Palestinian elections take place, it is unknown as to when they will be held; but it can be estimated that they will take place in May or June. If elections are held on both sides, then the image of the Palestinian Authority could be clearer today than the next Israeli government. Therefore, the partnership between the Fatah Movement and Hamas will be stronger than it is today. Hence, any upcoming agreement will be guaranteed its implementation, while ambiguity surrounds the status of the Israeli government. This means that once the Palestinian elections are held, Palestinians will be ready, locally and internationally, to conclude any historic solution agreement, while Israel is required to produce a government that is  flexible or moderate enough to reach a solution that will be accepted by both parties first, as well as guaranteed by the international community, including the United States.

Since Israel has reached normalization agreements with four Arab countries, it may be content with this achievement and make concessions regarding the Palestinian situation. This may be hinted at in exchange for Israel to enter the negotiations with the Palestinians, especially since the Europeans, Russia and even America/Biden want these negotiations. This was revealed by the meeting with Egypt, Jordan, Germany and France in Cairo on the 11th of January, 2021.

The general elections in Palestine will be held after the Palestinian President issues presidential, which will end the division and open the door to the final negotiations between Palestine and Israel. Therefore, it is of great importance on many levels and aspects. Unless an unexpected catastrophe occurs, it will be issued as it should and at the appropriate time, as those who have greatly suffered are awaiting the light at the end of the tunnel.


The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the opinion of the Association or donor.