Political Analysis


The Day after  Palestinian President

By: Reham Owda , Political Analyst

 14/9/2017

In  the shadow of    continues  Palestinian division and the failure in  achieving  of serious national reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas movements , five scenarios are expected    to be  occurred , if  the  President of Palestinian Authority (PA),Mahmmoud  Abbas leaves his position without assigning a new successor after him:

Scenario One: The Supreme Constitutional Court and the Presidency

If PA President Abbas issues a presidential decree for dissolving the Palestinian Legislative Council, before his depart from the Palestinian Authority, this decision will create a legal hindrance that will prevent    the senior member   of Hamas and the head of the Palestinian Legislative Council , Dr. Abedlaziz  Dewik to assume  presidency of the state for a period not exceeding sixty days.

So, in   this  case, the president of the Supreme Constitutional Court, will be appointed as PA Interim President in accordance with article number (120) mentioned in the Palestinian Constitution Third Draft (2003), which states:

“If the office of the president becomes vacant or the House of Representatives decides to charge him in accordance with Article (132) from the Constitution, the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall assume presidency of the state for a period not exceeding sixty days, during which presidential elections are carried out in accordance with electoral laws. Should the Speaker of the House wish to submit his candidacy for presidency, or should a legal hindrance prevent him from assuming presidency, the head of the Constitutional Court shall assume presidency temporarily until election of the president. The head of the court may not be a presidential candidate “.

 Scenario Two: Low Level of Humanitarian Coordination

Amid the Palestinian division between Fatah and Hamas movements, and the possibility of temporary inauguration of the President of the Constitutional Court as the Interim PA President, it is predicted that the Palestinian Prime Minister will continue to manage the affairs of the PA institutions under the declaration of state of emergency.

However, the Palestinians governmental institutions in West Bank will continue operating as usual with some international support, to prevent the full collapse of Palestinian Authority, which is considered by international community as the nucleus of future Palestinian State.

 In the meanwhile, it is expected  that the PA in Ramallah will maintain a low-level coordination with some of its branches in the Gaza Strip.

 And, this coordination may be limited to cover the urgent humanitarian needs of Gazans, without involving Ramallah authority   in paying all the bills of Gaza.

Scenario Three: Implementation of Strict Security Plan in West Bank
Recently, many Israeli media published some concerns of former Israeli security officers, regarding the possibility of collapsing of the Palestinian Authority in the day after PA President Abbas.

 But I do not expect  the realization of this  scenario,  as  I think  that the PA  in Ramallah has learned a tough  lesson from  its previous experience in the Gaza Strip , and it will not repeat the same security mistakes that allowed Hamas to overthrow it from Gaza.
I believe that the security services in the West Bank, and under the direct supervision of the head of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service , Majid Faraj ,  have an affirmative security plan to maintain security control over the West Bank, to prevent any internal or external infiltration within the Palestinian security system and any security ciaos in the West Bank.
One of the signs of this security plan, is the recent measures of the PA regarding the retirement of its military personnel in Gaza and the replacement of them with new soldiers in the West Bank, which indicates the desire of the PA in Ramallah to increase the number of security personnel in the West Bank to enforce strict security control over the West Bank.

 In addition, I do not expect that Hamas forces can do another coup against PA in West Bank, because its military position in West Bank is not strong enough to revolt against PA in Ramallah, as it did before in Gaza during 2007.

 Also, the continues Israeli military campaigns against Hamas members  in West Bank, play a big role in the weakness of Hamas military forces in West Bank, as Israeli security forces insist to disarm Hamas members from their  weapons and prevent the growth of any new Hamas military cells in West Bank, which  may threat the internal security of Israel.
Scenario Four: Presidential Elections in the West Bank
If the President of the Supreme Constitutional Court, becomes as Interim PA President, then he may start the preparations for presidential elections in Gaza and West Bank.

But, it is more likely that Hamas will refuse to hold the presidential election in Gaza, then it is possible that the Interim PA President may make a decision to hold the presidential election in West Bank only, and without Gaza, in order to fill the vacuum in governance, and prevent the collapse of PA.
It is likely also, that one leader from Fatah movement or an independents leader loyal to Fatah, may run for a new term of   the presidential election in West Bank, whom could be recognized by   some Arab and Western countries to allow him to rule the West Bank and prevent any security chaos.

 Scenario Five:  Hamas Rules Gaza till the Next War
Under the possibility of emergence of a new political leadership in the  West Bank without the agreement of Hamas, I expect that Hamas may continue ruling the Gaza Strip, as long as a new war decision will be made by senior Hamas leaders to start the great battle of liberation against Israel, a war that Hamas leaders have promoted it for many times over the years.

So in case, Hamas launches a new war against Israel, this potential war may determine the fate of Hamas in Gaza.

 As, if Hamas wins the next war   , this may make it more strong and rooted in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
However, if Hamas loses the next war, and Israel succeeds in disarming it from all of its weapons and tunnels in Gaza, then the political situation in the Gaza Strip may  be dramatically changed, and a new political era may begin in the Strip without Hamas.


Four Scenarios, If Gaza Becomes As Rebel Territory

By: Reham. R. Owda, Political Analyst

Written on 25/5/2017

In mid-March 2017, Hamas movement had created an administrative committee to manage the internal affairs of the Gaza Strip.

This committee is considered by the most of Palestinians politicians,  as shadow government that plays a big role in   marginalizing   the Ministers of the Consensus Government, whom appointed by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Following the official announcement of Hamas, about the launch of the first activity of this committee, President Abbas  sent on 18/4/2017 his Fateh delegation, to ask Hamas for dissolving the  committee and handing over  Gaza to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah

But, Hamas leaders have refused Abbas demands, challenging him by keeping the administrative committee supervising the affairs of the Gaza Strip.

The refusal of Hamas for dissolving the committee, has led Abbas to announce his new intolerant policy towards Hamas members in Gaza.

So, he has threatened  Hamas by  cutting the financial funds for  certain sectors in Gaza, such as stopping the payment for the electricity and the water , that Palestinian Government  buys it from Israeli companies

Abbas also sent instruction to  the Palestinian Ministry of Finance,  to  deduct  30%  from  the salaries of Palestinian Authority employees who are based in Gaza

These serious steps, considered by most of Palestinian people as tough measures that may increase more pressure on Hamas leaders in Gaza and might deteriorate the security and humanitarian conditions in Gaza Therefore, it is difficult to ignore the big signs behinds these new measures taken by Palestinian President Abbas

As, if Hamas continues defying Abbas and sabotaging his  plan  to restore Gaza again,  it is  expected  that President Abbas may sooner or later declare  Gaza as a rebel territory

Given the possibility of announcing Gaza as a rebel territory, this means that Palestinian Authority abandons  its  responsibilities for covering the financial expenses of the Gaza Strip

Furthermore, Palestinian Authority may stop its payment  for  employees salaries and the costs of other vital sectors in Gaza, such as education, health and  energy, in order to impose  a complete separation between Gaza and the West Bank and punish Hamas movement for its refusal to hand over the Gaza Strip

Thus, if Gaza becomes as a rebel territory, the most likely scenarios that might happen could be:

Scenario One:  An Excessive Rule and Economic Austerity

On 22/04/2017, the Hams leader, Musheer Al Massery, stated in one conference conducted in Gaza named ” Enough for The Siege” , that Hamas has a plan to handle any action taken by President Abbas to separate  from Gaza

Therefore, it is expected that Hamas movement will accept the big challenge to rule Gaza alone, through its administrative committee and without any funds from the Palestinian Authority

And, to maintain full security control on Gaza , it is  estimated  also that Hamas will impose more excessive laws and procedures against any youth activists or political opponents, who may harshly criticize Hamas , in order to prevent them from influencing Gazans to revolute against its rule in Gaza

It is also predicted that Hamas will apply a diplomatic policy with civil society organizations operating in Gaza, to encourage them for providing humanitarian assistance to the needy people, a support that could alleviate the pressure on Hamas

Scenario Two: Humanitarian Disaster and International Aids

In this scenario, it is expected that Hamas will cover only the salaries of its employees, and will not take responsibility for covering the salaries of other PA employees, nor the cost of supplying electricity, water, health and education services for Gazans

 In addition, this potential reaction of Hamas may cause a major humanitarian disaster, and lead to the declaration of the state of emergency in Gaza.

These possible humanitarian crises may lead also United Nations organizations, and civil society members, such as Non -Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to launch an urgent appeal and advocacy campaigns to call on international community members to provide humanitarian aids for Gaza people, and lift the siege on Gaza

It is possible also, that Qatar and Turkey interfere in this situation, through providing humanitarian support to the Strip

Further intervention from Palestinian leader, Mohammed Dahlan is also, expected to promote himself as hero savior of Gazans, through intermediating between Hamas and Egypt to reopen Rafah Crossing

Scenario Three: Burning War and Huge Destruction

In this scenario, Israel may exploit the potential decision of Abbas of announcing the Gaza strip as rebel territory, and it may increase its siege on Hamas by closing all Israeli trade crossings on Gaza borders, and halting all financial transactions to Gaza banks

So, if Israel reacts in this way,  this might cause a major  failure of Hamas economic austerity policy,  and will inflame the anger of Hamas political leaders, and their military wings who will ask for a big revenge from Israel ,  and in the meanwhile drawing again the attention of the world towards the humanitarian disaster in Gaza, through launching new limited war against Israel

However, this scenario is less likely to happen , because Israel is not interested in involving itself  in a new war on Gaza , due to the high possibility of  causing big loss to the economic sector in Israel

Therefore, it is expected that Israel will increase the economic facilities for Gaza, whenever Israeli government feels that Gaza is about to explode, applying in this way the policy of “venting the balloon ” ,before pecking it

Thus, if  Hamas lost hope because of the humanitarian crisis , and the Israeli siege on it,  then Hamas may involve itself  in another war against Israel.

 And, in case this war starts between Hamas and Israel ,  it  may turns upside down the political and security situation in Gaza  , as Israel may exploit this new , unplanned and random war to end the rule of Hamas in Gaza, and demilitarize  the Strip from its weapons

 This hypothese is developed based on statements of Israeli Defense Minister Avigdore  Liberman, who declared through  his interview with Walla News on 28/4/2017 : “if will be any new war on Gaza in the future , this war will continue till the end  and will topple the rule of Hamas in Gaza”

Furthermore, it is speculated also, that if Israel succeeds in ending the Hamas rule in Gaza after the new war, it may request from the United Nations to send its peacekeeping forces to manage the affairs of the Gaza Strip for short period

And, according to an article published by Al Monitor website, the possibility of sending international forces to Gaza had been already discussed between the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop when they had met in Sydney on 26/02/2017.

Thus,   if the United Nations accepts to send its forces to Gaza, after the expected  new war , it is estimated that the international forces will hand over Gaza  to Palestinian Interim Committee, to lead the transitional   phase in the Gaza Strip,  and prepare for the new presidential and legislative elections ,that may lead to the start of   a new political era in Gaza without  Hamas

Scenario Four: Rebellion and Extremist Armed Groups

This scenario could happen, if Hamas fails in imposing its security control over Gaza, due to poverty, unemployment, power cuts, crossing closures and the inability of Hamas to pay the salaries of its military members

Thus, a partial split in the ranks of the movement, and an internal rebellion by some of its military members could happen, which may lead to the emergence of secret rebel movements

Moreover, those rebels  may make coup against the rule of Hamas, and form extremist armed groups, in order to gradually control Gaza, dumping it into vortex of serious violence and security chaos

However, this scenario is less likely to occur in Gaza, because Hamas is known for the the strength of its internal structure, and the loyalty of its members, who adopt Islamic ideology, that promote the principles of “hearing and obedience” to the commander, the strong faith in Jihadist battles and the patience for the trials and tribulations

 Finally, these four scenarios could happen only, based on how Hamas reaction will be, and the decision of Palestinian president Abbas, if he declares officially Gaza as a rebel territory or not, so this will be clear in the coming period that will determine the future of Gaza and Hamas


Hopes and Fears of two Peoples

By:Reham R. Owda

Written on 10/11/2013

Since the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu had been assigned to form the new Israeli government in February 2013, he immediately announced, that the top priorities of his new government will be preventing Iran to create nuclear weapons and restart peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

At that time, the U.S Secretary of State, John Kerry announced that President Barack Obama planned to visit Israel and West Bank in order to motivate both Palestinians and Israelis to re-negotiate again. Moreover, Secretary Kerry said he had phoned President Abbas and informed him the Obama Administration is insisting very much to reactivate the peace process between Israeli government and Palestinian Authority, as the administration considers the negotiation as the best solution for creating peace in Middle East and establishing two independent states following the 1967 borders according to the United Nations resolution 242

But now, after more than five months of holding many negotiations among the Palestinians and the Israelis , the Palestinian people begin to feel bored and frustrated particularly when they hear from both Israeli and Palestinian media there’s no progress on the ground, and both negotiating parties are still struggling to convince each other on the rights of their people

Thus it is very clear that there is still a lack of trust and hope between both Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams as every time an Israeli officer or a Palestinian leader declares through media that the negotiations are leading nowhere and that these negotiations will not succeed in resolving the long held conflict between Palestinians and Israelis

So the question I’m raising here – if both parties don’t believe in negotiating, why are they still negotiating? Do they negotiate because of the pressure from the U.S.? Do they use the negotiations as a tool for pressing each other in order to gain more time to achieve their ultimate goals?

From my observation of the positions of both conflicting sides, I can say that the Palestinians aim to release their prisoners from Israeli prisons, remove the Israeli settlements from Jerusalem and West Bank, find a just solution for the problem of Palestinian refugees, and finally have their independent state on the 1967 borders with a capital in East Jerusalem. The Israelis aim to have the Jewish state recognized by Palestinians, have Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, keep some settlements as a final line of defense, and protect their national security from any potential attack directed by members of a Palestinian military resistance

But if we focus more on the way the negotiation process, we notice that each side continuously wants to exploit as much time as possible to achieve its short term objectives

Concerning the Palestinian side, the Palestinian Authority officers are negotiating now with Israeli government officers because they feel under the pressure of U.S. that promised them support of the economy of the Palestinian Territories, meanwhile these officers also want to gain the support of the international community which funds almost 1/3 of Palestinian Authority’s annual budget; one that implements many humanitarian and development projects in Gaza and West Bank

So far, it’s sad to say that at this stage in peace negotiations no one on the Israeli and Palestinian sides are seriously discussing a final solution for the conflict which is now over 60 years old. Unfortunately, they just keep meeting each other many times over under the pressure of U.S. and without any self motivations, then they comment negatively through media on the results of their meetings

These constant negative comments certainly discourage the Palestinian people in a particular way and makes them think a peace with Israel is ‘Mission Impossible’. Therefore some Palestinian intellectuals believe the Oslo agreements have failed and consider it a dead agreement, which should be deleted from the history of Palestinian policy and replaced with a new political strategy that depends on a popular resistance or even a military one

I believe that peace is not just a promise, a signed agreement or a ceremony; peace is an action that should occur based on good intention, accountability, and mutual confidence between both conflict sides. We can’t demand a solution from politicians who don’t at least trust one another, and that believe the security and future of their countries are always threatened by each other’s people

Actually, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not simply over land with an area of only 27,009 KM2, it’s a conflict about the right for existence two people in a land that has been consecrated by the three major religions in Middle East (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) which is why some extremist religious leaders keep painting this conflict as a holy war between believers and infidels

I suppose the best ways for the success of the peace process in the Middle East could be with steps: evaluate the results of previous peace negotiations and Oslo agreement to learn from its weak and strong points, build a bridge of trust between the two negotiating teams, create common ground between both sides, assign fair/balanced media spokesmen that actually represent the two in order to avoid contradictory comments from the politicians, and certainly keep negotiating with direct involvement and in accordance with international law


 

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