Even if the warring factions in the Gaza Strip do agree to a ceasefire, it won't take long for the conflict to begin anew, and even more powerfully.
Many are wondering how much time and effort can still be invested in political agreements that do not garner the support of street fighters,
What's the sense of a ceasefire if it cannot hold for more than a few minutes? What's the point of repeatedly returning to the same old leadership on matters it has long lost control over? What's the point of maintaining a situation whereby the Palestinians no longer delude themselves about their cynical and impotent leaders and about the irresponsible factions indifferent to Palestinian blood?
These factions yearn to destroy all that was built in the national Palestinian project throughout the years in the aim of ending the occupation and establishing an independent state.
In wake of developments in the Gaza Strip in recent months, only one conclusion can be reached: Palestinian infighting will not cease by agreements between political leaders. A settlement will not be achieved by military means either.
We cannot bridge the differences between the factions ourselves, because they are greater than our leaders. And they are greater than the Mecca agreement, which assumed that an agreement regarding the appointed internal minister would resolve the problem without taking into account the sides' covert agendas which clouded the agreements.
Therefore, under the current circumstances the military conflict between Fatah and Hamas will continue until a partnership whose rules are set by Hamas is created.
Troops from Egypt and Jordan
Upon reaching such conclusions, what remains is to seek a new reality that would reinstate what has been lost since Palestinian infighting began; A reality that would return hope to the simple man on the street who is now saying "it was better during the occupation. I wish the Israelis would return."
To prevent the occupation forces from returning to Gaza, an Arab multi-national force should be deployed. Its purpose wouldn't be to separate the hawks, but rather, it would have an unequivocal goal: End the battles and prevent them from restarting, even if this requires using force.
The force's objectives should include putting an end to bloodshed, preserving the Palestinians' national achievements, preserving the Authority's institutions and reinstating their honor among the public, dismantling the militias and putting arms control in the hands of official security insitutions.
These institutions would be reorganized and trained to protect their state against armed militias and against political leaders who become a burden on the back of the struggle.
Enough of putting arms in irresponsible hands; Enough of hiding behind masks and keffiyehs.
This is the only alternative that would ensure the occupation does not return. It would ensure that the lawlessness and anarchy gnawing away at our society and threatening to destroy everything that is still functioning properly in the Authority will not continue.
The Arab force should be comprised of soldiers from Jordan and Egypt under the flag of the Arab League. Only such force could save our people. This is the power that would bring hope.
Riad Malki is the director-general of Panorama, The Palestinian Center for the Dissemination of Democracy and Community Development in Ramallah