Towards Palestinian Elections: The Democracy of the Rifles

Brig. Gen. (res.) Shalom Harari - * Arafat was the cement that held all the Palestinian factions together including, unofficially, the Muslim factions. This cement has now disappeared. All the divisions that we see in Palestinian society today, that have been there all along, have reemerged. He was able to control both the Fatah outsiders who came from Tunis, and those who were in the territories during the first intifada. * Around 200,000 people came in from outside after Oslo, including a great many PLO activists. The main power of this group derived from the fact that they were close to the "old man." But the old man is gone and all the outsiders are in a much more problematic position today. * Palestinians today are primarily concerned with the loss of control in their society - in dimensions and to depths never seen before. Civilians have their own weapons, and the weapons of the security forces are barely under the control of any central authority. When Arafat was operating from Lebanon, he would speak about "the democracy of the rifles." Today, the Palestinians are indeed living with the democracy of the rifles. * Who is stronger: Hamas or Fatah? Some Israeli intelligence officials say the ratio of armed forces is 22,000 for the PA and 6,000 for Hamas - a four-to-one ratio - which is enough for the PA to overcome Hamas. But every Hamas and Jihad member is worth four or five or six Fatah members because he's much more committed and fanatical and has more self-discipline.

2005-12-29 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive