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The political division between Gaza and the West Bank presents an opportunity rather than a hindrance to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, according to Muhammad Dahlan, a former Palestinian national security adviser. Speaking at a security conference in Geneva, Dahlan expressed confidence that Palestinians from all political spectrums would support a negotiated settlement with Israel if given the chance to vote in a referendum. He emphasized that the situation in Gaza should not be used as an excuse to evade the peace process, but rather seen as an opening for progress towards an agreement.
Dahlan, who previously held a prominent position within Fatah in Gaza before Hamas took control of the territory, stated that the division between Gaza and the West Bank could be viewed as an opportunity rather than an obstacle on the path to peace with Israel. Despite being criticized for the collapse of pro-Abbas forces during the Hamas takeover in June, Dahlan expressed his firm belief that Hamas had made a strategic and historic mistake and no longer represented the will of the Palestinian people.
Dahlan asserted that if Palestinians were given the opportunity to vote on a peace agreement with Israel, he was confident that his desired solution would receive around 70 percent support. He emphasized that the Palestinian people, irrespective of political affiliations, would back a negotiated settlement. Previous negotiations, including the Camp David meeting in 2000 between Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, have covered all the key issues, with only a small gap remaining that requires bravery and commitment from both sides to bridge.
The Role of Israel and the United States
According to Dahlan, the success of future peace talks depends on the dedication shown by Israel and the United States. While acknowledging that all the issues have been discussed in previous negotiations, Dahlan stressed that a successful outcome would require both parties to demonstrate courage and a genuine commitment to reaching an agreement. He urged Israel and the United States to seize the opportunity presented by the current political dynamics and work towards a lasting peace.
Muhammad Dahlan’s remarks at the security conference in Geneva highlight his belief that the political split between Gaza and the West Bank can be seen as a chance for progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. He expressed confidence that Palestinians from various political backgrounds would support a negotiated settlement with Israel in a referendum. Dahlan emphasized the importance of seizing this opportunity, with the hope that both Israel and the United States will show the necessary commitment and bravery to bridge the remaining gap. Despite the challenges, Dahlan’s perspective offers a glimmer of hope for a peaceful resolution to the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict.