On Feb. 6 it was announced that the two political parties of the Palestinian Authority came to a resolution. According to an article in The New York Times, the U.S.- and European Union-supported party Al-Fatah leader President Mahmoud Abbas was warned by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he could “have peace with Israel or unity with Hamas, but not both.” Hamas, the radical Islamic movement in Palestine, is notorious for using violence to solve its issues. Although the U.S. State Department has denounced Hamas and any union between Al-Fatah and the “Iranian-backed terror organization” as Netanyahu calls it, the State Department has not yet ceased to give Al-Fatah its aid and training — including the supply of weapons. This marks a pivotal moment in history for several reasons.
First, it is important to see whether peace can linger between two parties with such distinct differences. It is a well-known fact that the Hamas have publicly disapproved of the Palestinian prime minister’s policies. Yet, the two parties have announced that a full government and elections to account for their union will be announced this coming week. If this comes to pass peacefully, the world will be on the edge of it seats, waiting to see how long it can last before disaster strikes. With a controversial history, any Hamas leader in a position of political power, in a country whose neighbor (Israel) wishes its downfall, the odds are against the union. However, despite past short-lived resolutions, this reconciliation between parties is the closest Palestine has come toward the solution that Whitworth’s own Dr. Raja Tanas calls the “two-nation solution,” a solution that seeks coexistence between Palestine and Israel as sovereign nations.
Second, Israel’s response to the Palestinian Authority reuniting as a single political entity is on a very fine line; if Mr. Netanyahu does not support the union and causes even more difficulties for Palestine, I doubt that peace can be found in the union. Rather than reacting aggressively, I believe it’s important to encourage any moves that Palestine makes towards peace. Furthermore, if Israel continues to show aggression and disapproval toward the territories, they do not win the trust of Palestine. They say, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”; if Israel pushes the Palestinian government away, they will not seek cooperation or peace with them in the future.
However, the risk of this situation cannot be ignored, which leads me to my third point. If Hamas leaders obtain legal positions in government, who is to say that the Palestinian Authority will not lose the global support they have gained over the past decade to achieve sovereignty? While the Western “Super Powers” such as America and Europe have been supporting one political party in Palestine, if Hamas’ history begins to show itself in their newly formed government, I sincerely doubt any continued support, and any hope of Palestine becoming a peaceful and internationally recognized nation will dim.
At Whitworth, with the majority of us being Americans and from a Christian background, what is the significance of this so-called historical moment? Considering our government has a hand in these affairs, I will say that it is imperative to, first of all, care that this is happening. We cannot become apathetic to the world news. Whether you play your part by being an active voter, taking part in lobbying, or just creating dialogue about what is going on in Palestine, you are making a difference. Second, as Christians, it is important to remember that the Christian church has brothers and sisters everywhere - including both Israel and Palestine. Their lives and futures hang on the balance of this agreement. As Whitworthians, “serv[ing] humanity” is our mission.
What are you going to do about it?
Brown is a senior majoring in international business. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graphic Artist: Eva Kiviranta