The bombs might have ceased to fall, but conflict is never far away in Palestine. The unity deal between Hamas and Palestinians is coming under strain as the Palestinian President Mehmoud Abbas, accused Hamas of running a ‘shadow government’ in Gaza and subverting the rule of the central unity government. His words do pander to populist, party opinions in the West Bank but they contain elements of the truth.

Under the terms of the reconciliation deal the factions agreed to form an interim consensus government and end seven years of bitter rival administrations in the West Bank and Gaza. Ironically despite Israel’s bold declarations of victory against the ‘terrorist’ Hamas and claims that it has dealt a heavy blow to them, Hamas has actually gained in popularity. Israel’s relentless and indiscriminate bombing of Gaza has confirmed Hamas’s narrative of Israeli oppression and has painted Hamas as a just resistance. Polls suggest that if elections are held right now, Hamas would not only retain control over Gaza but will make strides in Fatah territory in the West bank too; a thought that is perhaps gnawing at the President. So while incendiary remarks may serve to strengthen each party’s grip on their respective strongholds, the harsh reality is that both of them need each other. Hamas, unfairly denied its democratic right to form the government and dubbed as terrorists the West, needs Fatah and the PLO to present a credible face to the world. Fatah needs Hamas to assert that that the government represents all of the beleaguered Palestinian population. Their unity brought them victories; small victories, but victories nonetheless. The UN is beginning to recognize PLO as a true member and a potential investigation of war crimes against Israel by the ICJ can only be sustained through this unity.

This instability, unfortunately, plays right into the hands of Israel; which has been highly critical of the unity government from the start. It is imperative that Palestine rise above the politics and focuses on its people.