by Ghada Karmi
The divergence of opinion and the ferment of ideas are indications that at this critical stage in Palestinian history, what is needed is not a peace process on better terms, but a pan-national debate about the future. The deepening gulf between the "outside" and the "inside" that I see here is the most dangerous threat to that future. The challenge facing the Palestinians involves all of them, not just the third living under Israeli occupation. Any political decision now must include Fateh and Hamas, the refugees and the exiles. That is why some of us are calling urgently for an international meeting of Palestinian leaders to work out the best way forward before it is too late. Israel, which has worked hard to fragment the Palestinians and diminish their cause to one of bickering over percentages of land on the West Bank, must not be allowed to succeed.
Ghada Karmi is a research fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, UK, and the author of "Married to another man: Israel's dilemma in Palestine".