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Posts tagged ‘PLO’

On Palestine, BDS and solidarity in a time of political crisis

At a recent conference on Palestine in Doha, organised by Azmi Bishara’s Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies, there was one thing that everyone agreed on: the Palestinian national movement is in a state of crisis with regards to leadership, representation and strategies. How this predicament came about, and what needs to happen to improve this state of affairs, was a topic of debate and divergent views; the basic fact of, as Dr. Bishara put it, the need for a “reformulation of the Palestinian national project” enjoyed a gloomy consensus, however. Read more

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The problem with Palestinian political leadership

For a few months now, discussion of Palestine/Israel has focused on the looming UN vote on Palestinian statehood, but this is obscuring more fundamental problems in the Palestinian political arena – of which the forthcoming UN vote is a symptom.

In three critical areas, there are significant flaws hampering Palestinian political leadership.

The first is a legitimacy deficit. Both the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority and Hamas have, with the most generous interpretation, a minority mandate from the Palestinian people. The last elections of any sort took place in 2005-2006, and overdue local elections have been indefinitely postponed. And even if presidential or parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza were to take place tomorrow, they would still exclude Palestinian refugees. The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) remains a potential vehicle for democratic decision-making, but serious reform is still not on the horizon. Read more

A desperate throw of the dice

Thirty years ago, Israel minister Ariel Sharon told Knesset members that while they “shouted” about the settlements, “we lay another foot of pipe, another mile of road and build another house.” Successive Israeli governments have agreed with the country’s founding prime minister David Ben-Gurion’s own view that the “precondition for discussion with the Arabs” is to “establish a great Jewish fact in this country.” Now, however, the talk is of Palestinian “unilateralism.” This began with the appointed Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announcing his two-year plan for statehood in August, but has reached a crescendo in the last few weeks. Fayyad’s plan is still on the table, and although he has stressed that the emphasis is on institution-building, some reports have linked the initiative to a unilateral declaration of independence. Read more

Palestine: the other schism

While the Western world was marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Palestinians in the occupied West Bank were taking matters into their own hands, physically breaking through two sections of Israel’s Separation Wall in Ni’lin and Qalandia. As this was happening Ramallah’s political elite was busy digesting and assessing the latest developments with regard to Mahmoud Abbas’ future, the official peace process, and prospects for elections. Read more

Fatah strangled at rebirth

Last week, Fatah finished up its general conference in Bethlehem, the first time the movement had held such a gathering for 20 years. The conference, which began on 3 August and ran for several more days than scheduled, was billed as the opportunity for Fatah to breathe some life into an ossified leadership structure and kickstart a political comeback.

As the gathering drew to a close, with Abbas re-elected as party leader, new central committee members announced and votes being counted for the revolutionary council, western media headlines gave the impression that it had largely been a success, like the New York Times’s report: Fatah party election brings in a new generation. Read more