Putting the Palestinian house in order: towards inter-Palestinian reconciliation

Presenter:
Professor Mia Swart, Democracy Governance and Service Delivery, Human Sciences Research Council
Respondent:
 Na'eem Jeenah, Director of the Afro Middle East Centre (AMEC)


Date: 16 October 2018                      Time: 12:30 – 14:00 
Venues: Pretoria, Durban, PE and Cape Town


There has long been a lack of political will on the part of the leaders of Fatah and Hamas, the two dominant Palestinian factions, to take concrete steps to achieve inter-Palestinian reconciliation. In the decade since the 2007 division, the two sides have continuously attempted to reach agreement on reconciliation and have signed several reconciliation agreements but the will to carry out the agreements often withered before the ink was dry. Transitional Justice has emerged as a possible mechanism and model for helping to bridge the inter-Palestinian divide. Transitional Justice in the inter-Palestinian context has entered the debate on Palestinian reconciliation fairly recently. It is a mechanism that has been recommended mostly in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The applicability and potential of this mechanism will be analysed.

It will be argued that the state of Palestine can draw inspiration from transitional justice ideas and mechanisms. Such mechanisms can strengthen reconciliation regardless of whether Transitional Justice is adopted wholescale as a theoretical concept in Palestine. Whereas Transitional Justice is no panacea and can, when applied in a context insensitive manner, exacerbate tensions, select mechanisms can move the current reconciliation efforts forward. The reparation payments made in Gaza in 2017 is one positive and promising example of the kinds of initiatives that could bring Palestinians from both sides closer together.

The success of the South African transition from Apartheid will be discussed as it has long been an inspiration to Palestinians. Alternative solutions to transitional justice will be proposed.

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The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of the DST

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