The Palestinian Strategy Group (PSG) held its third and final workshop in Istanbul in March 2011. Senior representation from across the political parties, which included Fatah and Hamas, were present at the table. The aim of the third workshop was to explore strategic options in achieving Palestinian goals of statehood. The previous two workshops took place in Jericho (April 2010) and Gaza (September 2010).
The PSG is an inclusive and open forum in which Palestinians from across the social and political spectrum conduct sustained strategic analysis of the complex conflict environment in order to help inform and guide the national project.
The aim of the third workshop was to explore strategic options in achieving Palestinian goals of statehood. There was significant discussion around reconciliation and what scope there was to achieve it. One of the strengths of the meeting was to provide a safe environment where off-the-record conversations could take place around opportunities for reconciliation.
Themes arising from the workshops:
- The determination to formulate a clear Palestinian policy objectives and shape corresponding strategies.
- The strong desire for Palestinian unity. The response here is now to view the fact that there are substantial differences between Palestinians as the sign of an intellectually healthy and vibrant society rather than necessarily a barrier to ‘unity’, and to point up the vital nature of the PSG enterprise in helping to ensure that this does not undercut the overarching priority of coordinating a common national effort at this critical time.
- The need to clarify policy objectives so that strategies for getting there can be clearly identified, together with tactical means for achieving this. The central aim is to produce coherent, sustained and inclusive Palestinian strategic thinking and to construct an integrated, flexible and effective short-term, middle-term and long-term programme in response.
The PSG is now in a strong position with an inclusive network of 50 high-level and influential members. It is made up of a remarkable cross-section of Palestinian participants from the West Bank, Gaza, the diaspora and Israel, and from across the political spectrum. The PSG aims to continue its work into 2011-2012.