Interview with Boris Dolgov

Boris Dolgov, an expert on the Middle East from the Institute of Oriental Studies, spoke on Russia Today in connection with the outbreak of violence, providing background and analysis of the conflict in Gaza.

Russia Today:  What are the roots of this conflict among the Palestinian factions, that some describe as civil war?

B.D.: The roots of the conflict are surely of political and ideological nature and are linked to the history of relations between Hamas and Fatah. Of course, it is the struggle for power. As far as ideological differences are concerned, Hamas was established in the 1980s as a religious (Islamic) organisation. While Fatah was founded in the 1960s as a secular one.  So the conflict itself sparks off with the creation of Hamas in the 1980s. 

RT: Do you see any possible way out of the crisis?

B.D.: An important role in the resolution of the crisis is played by the Arab League. It is also essential that the whole community takes part in the process. This, however, might be difficult as there are forces that want to do without Hamas. As I said, the process is not an easy one, it would take time and should involve all sides.

RT: Do you think the deployment of the multi-national forces on Palestine’s territory could help in resolving the conflict?

B.D.: Of course, it would be a great help. But I believe that the Arabic countries can first play a very important and positive role in  the situation.  

RT: How do you think developments in Palestine will affect its relationship with Israel? 

B.D.: It is another difficult conflict, and it is getting even more difficult with this conflict between Hamas and Fatah. Of course, it is necessary for Israel to stop this conflict but with the help of Arabic countries and with the help of Russia and the U.S. But the first step towards resolving  the problem would be Fatah and Hamas coming to an agreement. And there are no negotiations possible without this making this first step.