Musa Abumarzuq, deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau in Damascus, writes:
The birth of the Cairo reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas was slow and painful. But Palestinians welcomed its arrival. The tragic division which occurred in our national movement constituted a chapter we hope will never happen again. It never occurred to us that a time would come when we would turn against fellow Palestinians.
Today, the reconciliation exposes the Israeli occupation as the real spoiler of peace. The Israelis have reneged on every agreement signed with the Palestinian Authority. Now we have forged this historic agreement and buried the hatchet, they are threatening our people with dire consequences.
While we were ensconced in Cairo trying to finalise the agreement, Israel embarked on a diplomatic offensive to persuade European governments to withdraw economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority.
As western governments have, individually and collectively, welcomed the democratic changes taking place in the Middle East, they should support a similar transformation in Palestine. Any attempt to short change my people would have no legitimacy. The events marking the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba have shown that no amount of victimisation, wars and blockade will deter us from the path of freedom. The world must remember the core issue of our cause is the right of every refugee to return to their home – a right enshrined in international law. As others were allowed to exercise this right, we demand the same for our people.