Top analyses of the week: The Palestinian situation

The Center for Political and Development Studies (CPDS) in Gaza today published its weekly report on the most important analyses and opinion articles on the Palestinian situation.

The first part of the report deals with Bassam Nasser’s analysis of the dialogue between Hamas and Salafi groups in Gaza.

Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Salem Salama, recently revealed that the party has been engaged in an ‘intellectual dialogue’ with the Salafi supporters of the Islamic State (IS) in Gaza. He said that Hamas had opened up communication with Salafi members detained by the movement, in order to de-radicalize them and ‘make sure that Islam should not be implemented this way’.

Nasser’s argument in his analysis is that Hamas should continue and expand this dialogue in order to prevent IS theory from turning into Salafi practice in the Gaza Strip. He calls for Hamas to present a ‘positive image by promoting free speech’ and to use its ‘hundreds of scholars and preachers’ to dismantle the radicalism in intellectual thought processes and reduce infighting among Islamic groups.

The second part of the report focuses on Mohsien Saleh’s analysis of a potential truce with Israel and the possibility of Gaza’s separation from the West Bank.

Rumors of negotiations between Hamas and Israel have been circulating with such frequency that the occasional denials made by both parties have fallen on deaf ears. Saleh’s analysis is concerned with the different approaches of all parties involved- Hamas, the Palestinian Authority (PA), Israel, Egypt and the European Union (EU).

Compromises are to be made by both Israel and Hamas in the signing of a truce which would last for up to 5 years, including the reopening of Gaza’s crossings and the reconstructing of Gaza’s infrastructure.

Saleh points out, however, that Hamas is extremely ‘skeptical’ of truce offers as all promises of lifting the siege on Gaza have thus far yielded no concrete results. This is why, he says, Hamas’ interest in having guarantees is so obvious. He concluded that the truce should not involve the separation of Gaza from the West Bank.

The third and final part of the report is in regards to Hamas’ press statement on Independent Commission of Inquiry’s report on the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza.

Hamas welcomed the report but included notes on its website which should be taken into consideration.

Hamas noted firstly that it had been fully cooperative with the Commission and had provided all necessary information for the formation of the report. It recognized that the resignation of the Commission’s President, William Schabus, under Israeli pressure had affected the outcome of the report, and condemned Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the Commission. Hamas said that Israel’s obstruction of the report had led to some inevitable inaccuracies. It implied that the fact Israel had prevented Commission members from visiting Gaza proved its guilt in the documented war crimes.

Hamas pointed out the report’s bias in favor of the Israeli occupation, saying that it used ‘skeptical terms’ and ‘lack of emphasis’ in the paragraphs concerning the occupation, whereas paragraphs dealing with Palestinian resistance used ‘confirmed phrases’ and ‘exaggerating terms’.

Hamas accused the Commission of using the word ‘tragic’ to describe the 6 Israeli civilian deaths during the aggressions, without adding any such adjective to the 2251 deaths of Palestinians.

Hamas also accused the Commission of going further than the tasks it was entrusted to fulfill in its intervention in Palestinian political matters.

The notes said that the Commission had confused military objects with civilian objects in regards to objects targeted by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF), calling it an ‘illegal, vindicating and an unjust approach’ on the part of the Commission.

The Commission’s report failed to include IOF soldier testimonies which confirmed that they had been ordered to target civilians, and ignored the horrific situation suffered by the 1.8m Gaza residents throughout the 51-day bombardment, despite its documentation of the ‘panic’ of thousands of Israeli citizens.

Hamas condemned the report’s acceptance of IOF policy to ‘warn’ of an impending attack by firing smaller missiles into the targeted areas, which included sites protected under international law such as hospitals, schools and shelters.

Finally, Hamas concluded its notes on the report by criticizing the lack of political and historical context for the aggression, pointing out that the latest aggression is the third of which to be launched on the trapped residents of the besieged Gaza Strip during the last 8 years.

Basem Nassar is a writer and researcher in Islamic thought based in Jordan.

Mohsien Saleh is the Chairman for Alzaytouna Center for Consultation and Research in Lebanon.