Palestinian reconciliation


All of us who want to see a peaceful resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict should welcome the news that Fatah and Hamas have reached a reconciliation agreement.

It is especially positive that young people in Palestine have pushed so strongly for this reconciliation. These non-affiliated youth groups have been inspired by pro-democracy movements across the region to organise demonstrations calling on Fatah and Hamas to reach this agreement. They are a new generation that provide hope for the future of a Palestinian state.

The Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said that Fatah must choose between peace with Israel and peace with Hamas. Quite frankly, both the Israeli and the Palestinian people deserve better.

Netanyahu is wrong to say that it is an either or choice, and that there is no possibility of peace with both. A sustainable peace is only possible if it is reached between everyone involved. It might be a cliché, but doesn’t history tell us that peace is made between enemies, not between friends.

As the Palestinians work towards establishing an interim national unity government and holding Palestine-wide elections, the international community must do what we can to support them. It is important that we do not repeat the mistakes we made five years ago. Only through engagement will we be able to help bring the peace and stability to the region that both Israelis and Palestinians deserve.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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