Second Round of Palestinian Factions' Dialogue in Cairo

At the end of the first day's meetings of the Palestinian factions' dialogue, they signed an Honor Code for all issues related to the conduct of elections, except for the National Council issue. It appears that this issue is not agreed on. What are then the possible scenarios for this dialogue?

Issues Discussed in the Dialogue

Before the initiation of the dialogues, Ahmed Majdalani, member in the PLO's Executive Committee, said that the dialogue would address two issues: reviewing all decisions and guarantees discussed in the earlier meeting, and conducting a full review to overcome any obstacles that would hinder the conduct of the legislative elections without discussing minute details.

This contradicts the statements of the leaders of Hamas and Jihad who focused on discussing the Legislative Council issue. Jibril Rajoub, Secretary General of Fatah's Central Committee, mentioned the Legislative Council, but the dialogue, he said, would focus on procedures, mechanisms, administrative and security supervision, and internal and external control.

Since the Palestinian situation keeps changing, following are the possible scenarios:

First Scenario

Fatah movement, represented by Mahmoud Abbas, sought postponing any dialogue on essential issues to push the dialogue out of context which makes this scenario more possible: the occupation's threats continue to prevent Hamas from ruling the West Bank.

Two weeks before the dialogue, Haaretz newspaper revealed the occupation's intervention in the Palestinian elections. The 'Israeli' occupation has been attempting to prevent Hamas from winning the elections through arresting its leaders and activists, and warning leaders from taking part in the elections as what happened with Naif Rajoub in Hebron.

Mahmoud Abbas aims to wait until the day of elections when Hamas' structure is shaky as a result to the occupation's arrest and chase of its leaders and members. This guarantees his victory against his competitor, which is united and running for elections under one joint list. As for the other factions that quit Fatah, he would continue to terrorize and chase them.

Second Scenario

          If the endeavors of Hamas and Islamic Jihad to discuss the National Council issue succeed, and they agree on the activation of the PLO; this would corner Fatah again. The first problem Fatah is facing is its factions which quit the main list and are running under different lists.

          Hamas announced its intention to receive Nasser Al-Qidwa, who was recently dismissed from Fatah, in Gaza. This move gives Al-Qidwa a strong push. The more painful strike against Fatah is Marwan Al-Barghouti's willingness to officially announce his running for office as reported by the Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper.

          Fatah will then go for cancelling the elections. Although such action would bring disappointment to the hopeful Palestinians, it would be a perfect escape for Mahmoud Abbas from his inevitable failure which would lead to his exclusion and trial. Perhaps Hamas would be less resentful than his own movement's former members.

          Hamas will not leave room for the failure of the dialogue. It is heading to the elections despite all Israeli attempts to prevent them, and Fatah's conflicting statements. Therefore, cancelling the elections seems more likely to happen.

Source : PALM Strategic Initiatives Centre