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Palestine: narrowing the great divide

By David Singer - posted Friday, 14 September 2012

The political rift between Hamas and Fatah arising from their struggle to control the minds and the hearts of the Palestinian Arabs has continued unabated and unresolved for the last six years.

Gaza and the West Bank have become two separate and distinct political fiefdoms that have materially contributed to making the attainment of the “two-state” solution envisaged in the Oslo Accords and the Bush Road Map impossible to achieve.

The divide is so wide that the areas themselves have been dubbed “Hamastan” and “Fatahland” - signifying the utter hopelessness of reconciliation between two very polarized forces.


Political commentators Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff have succinctly summed up the position in their recent article - “Palestinian unity can wait - discord still growing between Hamas and Fatah”-

Both entities – the West Bank (Fatahland) and the Gaza Strip (Hamastan) - continue their bizarre dance: endless negotiations on the need for unity with zero actions or results, and a reality that only proves how wide the internal Palestinian divide is.

The results of a recent survey indicate that there is also deep division between the “1948 Arabs” - those who did not flee the 1948 War between the Jews and six invading Arab armies - and those Arabs who did - identified as the “1967 Arabs.”

The survey was undertaken by Professor Shifra Sagy, director of the Conflict Management and Resolution Program at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - with funding from the German research foundation DFG.

The study came at the initiative of some of Professor Sagy’s Palestinian students. It was co-directed with her postdoctoral student Dr. Adi Mana, and PhD students Anan Srour and Serene Madjali.

The survey was taken among 1104 Israeli Arabs and 948 West Bank Arabs - who were all personally interviewed.


Views were expressed by each group on the following matters - and commented on by Professor Sagy:

1. Loyalty to the land:

We asked Arabs of ’48 about their narrative, which is that they were loyal to their land when they didn’t desert it and stayed. The ’67 people look at the same issue, and they say the ’48 Arabs stayed on their land because they gave up and succumbed to the occupation without any resistance...
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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at

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