Echoing conclusions drawn from meetings across the week, participants in the cross-factional political roundtable held in Gaza on Thursday 5th July focused on the need for Palestinian reconciliation and the possible mechanism to deliver this.
Bringing together over 30 political leaders and public intellectuals from the different factions in Gaza, the discussion was an opportunity to assess progress towards Palestinian unity in light of the acute challenges facing Gazans, and to explore the relationship between Gaza, the West Bank and the international community. There was consensus that the Palestinian political leaderships struggle to develop and communicate a long-term strategy, instead focusing on immediate interests. In doing so, the political elites have ‘lost the pulse of the Palestinian people’.
An essential step towards Palestinian unity, therefore, is re-building the relationship between the political leadership and Palestinian society. Such efforts would help both the leadership and the people focus on what is possible and practical in the face of internal and external challenges. Without a re-focus on Palestinian agency and a united front, apathy and disillusionment will deepen as factional and regional fragmentation remains unaddressed.