Recognition of Palestinian Government
Yet again Palestinian attempts at forming a cohesive government comprised of the two main elected groups in the region are being vetoed by the US and Israeli administrations. Hamas and Fatah are trying to make a concerted effort to reduce internal tensions in the area before engaging in dialogue with Israel. The prerequisite of recognition of Israel is again seen as a stumbling block. Which Israel would this be though? Is it the current incarnation consisting of the illegally held (as per UN resolution 242) Golan heights and West Bank, along with numerous illegal settlements scattered throughout Palestine? Is it the Israel that continues to blockade the Gaza strip and run it like the worlds largest open prison with it's degrading check points and apartheid wall?
If we have learned anything from our own experience in Northern Ireland it is that open dialogue based on an equal footing is the only way to constructive progress. It has taken a long time but who would have predicted 15 years ago that we could be close to shared Government in the North with Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness at the helm.
The Israeli and US governments, with the wavering but compliant cooperation of the EU, continue to treat Palestinians like second class citizens. They treat their democracy with contempt, refusing to recognise legitimately elected officials. There is an understandable mistrust of Hamas on the Israeli side but the only way to get over this is through dialogue without unequal preconditions.