Palestinian Unity Government: Political and Structural Deadlock

The Mecca agreement and the establishment of a Palestinian National Unity government are leading to a political and structural deadlock between Israel and the Palestinians due to the inability of the Palestinians to ratify a peace agreement.

The Reut Institute contends that the Mecca agreement and the establishment of a Palestinian National Unity Government are leading to a politicla and structural deadlock between Israel and the Palestinians.

What is the Issue

According to the Mecca Agreement and the platform of the National Unity government (See: Unity Government: Creating a Stable Address in the PA), the responsibility for conducting negotiations will remain with the PLO and the President of the PA. Any agreement reached is supposed to be ratified in one of the following ways:

  • In the reformed Palestinian National Council of the PLO, after the Cairo agreements intended to integrate Hamas are implemented;
  • By referendum among the Palestinians which would include residents of Gaza, the West Bank, and the Palestinian Diaspora.

Why is this Important? Why Now?

The mechanism for ratifying agreements according to the Mecca agreement and the platform of the Unity government will lead to a political deadlock for the following reasons:

Ratification Unlikely through the PLO - It seems unlikely that a reform will be made to the PLO in the near future, in light of the power struggles between Fatah and Hamas. Ostensibly, until a new PLO is created, there is no way to ratify significant agreements made with Israel.

Moreover, even if Hamas were to join the PLO, an ideological deadlock is likely to occur as Fatah opposes the creation of a Palestinian State with Provisional Borders and Hamas opposes reaching a Permanent Status agreement (see: Israel's Political Options vis-à-vis the Palestinians).

Ratification Unlikely through Referendum - Conducting a referendum among the Palestinian Diaspora is very complicated, and maybe impossible, in light of the scattering of the Palestinian population throughout different host countries.

Moreover, it is unlikely that an agreement that does not solve the refugee issue will be ratified even if a referendum is carried out.

The significance is that the Mecca Agreement and establishment of the Unity government lead to a political and structural deadlock.