Where Have All the Palestinian Moderates Gone?

[Foreign Policy] David Schenker - A series of comments by current and former senior Fatah officials undercut the fundamental premise of Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking: the renunciation of violence and the acceptance of Israel's right to exist. Democratic politics are indeed taking shape among Palestinians, but they're mirroring the increasingly extreme views of the population at large. Recent surveys suggest that 52% of Palestinians support armed attacks against Israeli civilians inside Israel. The statements have profound implications for Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. The leading faction of the PLO that signed the Oslo Accords with Israel now says it never consented to the terms of the deal. Fatah's formal rejection of the Oslo terms of reference essentially constitutes the PLO's renunciation of the entire agreement. Moderates still exist and the PA continues to take some positive steps - such as removing militant preachers from West Bank mosques and cooperating with Israel on security matters - but its actions seem more focused on preventing Hamas inroads than promoting peace with Israel. The writer is director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

2009-08-05 06:00:00

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