The following guest post is by Harry Sanders, a content writer and correspondent for the Immigration Advice Service, an organisation of immigration solicitors based in the UK and Ireland.
From the comparatively privileged perspective of the western world, the scale and brutality of foreign conflicts often seem alien in contrast to our own experiences of comfort and safety. Such barbarism and inhumanity was once equally as alien a concept to the people of Palestine. But decades of violence and failed attempts at a resolving the protracted conflict have left the prospect of peace an unattainable ideal and have left Palestinian asylum seekers scattered across neighbouring countries.The potential for elections between rival factions Hamas and Fatah have been touted as a ray of hope to restore some order to the region. Given the history of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, can peace realistically be propelled at the ballot box? And if so, what obstacles stand in the way?
It is fundamental that forthcoming elections make it possible for lasting peace be achieved. Since the election of a Hamas majority to the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006, Palestinian politics has been deeply fractured. An international boycott of the Hamas government, followed by the 2007 Civil War in Gaza, left the already fragmented country even more divided. Attempts at reconciliation have been ongoing for years, such as in 2017 when talks over the contested control of Gaza were brokered in Cairo.
With this in mind, ensuring that elections fulfil their potential of bringing a long-absent sense of unity to the Palestinian cause is crucial. For this to happen, Fatah and Hamas must agree on a unified strategy prior to ballots being cast. This will help avoid a repeat of the 2006 elections which, as touched upon above, sowed the seeds for the division that has blighted the Palestinian cause ever since. Further to this, it is heartening that the elections are planned to be conducted via proportional representation. Ensuring no party forms an overall majority will avoid ill-feeling and enmity.
National unity is still far from reach, and despite the agreement between Hamas and Fatah to hold elections, there are several barriers to their success. The upcoming elections are being viewed with ‘cautious optimism’, with leader of the Palestine Liberation Front and a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, Wasel Abu Yousef, explaining the ‘tripartite assault’ which threatens to push the situation beyond repair.Continue reading