The Events of June 2007 in the Gaza Strip and Their Strategic and Tactical Effects on the Palestinian National Program

Discussion Committee: 
Dr. Nayef Abu Khalaf
Kifah Harab Muhammad Odeh
This study of the June 2007 events in the Gaza Strip and their impact on the Palestinian national scheme was an attempt to analyze and understand the political determinates and developments which has surrounded the Palestinian National Program since its approval in the Declaration of Independence in 1988. This study also dwelt on the state of the violent political change which the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) carried out in the Gaza Strip in terms of the repercussions of the state of division between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on the structure of the Palestinian Authority(PA)'s political system and the future of the Palestinian cause. To these ends, the researcher depended on a comparison based on description and analysis of internal and external political developments which contributed to the formation of the present Palestinian policy under the umbrella of the presence of the PA in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, given the fact that it is a political defector. The researcher moved on to analyze the consequences of the political change in the wake of Hamas's engagement / participation in the Palestinian political system through the use of internal fighting. In tacking this subject, the research significantly depended on review of related literatures, historical evidence, developments on the ground as well as analysis of the consequences of the state of new political change on enabling the Palestinian people to confront the Israeli occupation and realization of the Palestinian national scheme. Coupled with political analysis, the researcher provided a survey of the creation of the Palestinian entity, development of the concept of Palestinian nationalism in the course of the Palestinian national struggle, the hows of protecting its existence through fostering the Palestinian people's right to self-determination and establishment of an independent state. In this study, the researcher endeavored to answer one major question: what has been the impact of Hamas's control of the of the Gaza Strip on the geographical and political unity of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip? In addition, the researcher raised other questions pertinent to the effect of that step on the unity of the Palestinian goal: establishment of an independent Palestinian state as well as the consequences of the division on the Palestinian cause, political structure of the PA, the process of the democratic transformation or change and the social effects pertinent to the relationship between and among the Palestinian organizations. The research, in this study, provided a deep analysis to answer the questions raised in the four chapters. Chapter one provided a theoretical framework and a number of relevant concepts, pertinent to the subject of the study, such as political change, notion of the state and the term of autonomy. Chapter two dwelt on the evolution of the Palestinian political entity and its link to the concept of Palestinian nationalism and the development of the Palestinian national scheme, the curves it has taken and the challenges it has faced. Chapter three was devoted to the positions of the Palestinian organizations toward the Palestinians national scheme. It specifically highlighted the positions of the Palestine Liberation Organization's factions as well as those of the Islamic movements which are until now outside the umbrella of the PLO. Chapter four dealt with the political development of the PA's political system since its establishment through the changes in its political structure in the context of Hamas's participation in the political system of this authority. The chapter highlighted the reasons and the motives behind the events of July 2007, consequences of the state of division on the Palestinian cause, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, the transformation of the PA and the process of democratic transformation. In the light of the findings of the study, the researcher arrived at a number of conclusions and recommendations. * The PA's political structure, after Hamas's sweeping victory in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections has elapsed into double into standard politics, reinforcing legal compromising formulas which unify the political determinants and legal powers of the limited autonomy of the PA. The geopolitical division, resulting from the political coup and upheaval in the Gaza Strip, has significantly weakened the PA's legal and institutional building legitimacy. The PA has found itself in front of two difficult models of executive authority coupled with a total paralysis of the legislative authority. Therefore, the return to the national dialogue is a necessity and a top priority to end the state of division. Equally important, an appropriate mechanism has to be created in order to hold presidential and legislative elections to bring unity to the PA's political system through the establishment of one authority in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Hamas's control of the Gaza Strip, in the wake of June 2007 events, has threatened the notion of the Palestinian national scheme. These events have revealed the presence of a competitive political vision which has managed to impose itself as a defector authority, thus causing confusion of the principle of the Palestinian national unity as well as fragmentation and dispersal of the Palestinian national identity. To check on the risks of division on the Palestinian national scheme, there is a pressing necessity for national reconciliation and consensus based on common ground: creation of appropriate mechanisms that guarantee partnership and pluralism as a foundation for the realization of a strong Palestinian national unity. * The political division has crossed with the existing Israeli vision of separating the West Bank from the Gaza Strip. Israeli has managed to exploit this division for its own interests through its investment as a launching pad for sidestepping the Palestinian representation. Therefore, the Palestinian parties have to speed up the restoration of cohesion and unity to the Palestinian national camp according to the NCD as a major political covenant. This perhaps will form as a political outlet for all the Palestinian parties to build on and to end the state of division and reinforce the independent Palestinian representation.
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