Isolated and Angry, Gaza Battles Itself, Too

(New York Times) James Bennet - Four years ago, Palestinian negotiators were debating with Israeli counterparts how to share Jerusalem. Now Palestinian leaders are haggling with each other over how to run Gaza. Some Palestinians glimpse in an Israeli pullout a new chance at statehood, a chance to create a model of self-rule that will spread to the West Bank. The alternative is a destitute enclave ruled by warlords and militants, an outcome they fear will doom their national movement. Ziad Abu Amr told a symposium in Gaza City titled "After the Withdrawal From Gaza": "You know who is determining everything. Arafat hasn't proposed a vision for the Palestinian people." Muhammad Dahlan, for years the leader of the Preventive Security Force in Gaza, is more feared than loved. But he is favored by Israeli, European, and American officials as strong enough to run Gaza, and he has embarked on a political campaign. He sees the Israeli withdrawal as an opportunity - for the Palestinians and maybe for himself - and he is determined to take advantage of it. Dahlan and other Palestinian politicians sense beneath the militancy an exhaustion with death and despair and a hunger for change. "Enough is enough," he said. That attitude is hard to see in the pictures and paintings of the dead that are everywhere. Their message is of heroism, sacrifice, and glamour.

2004-07-16 00:00:00

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