Arafat's Succession Battle Is Looming

(Aljazeera-Qatar) - In a certain sense, Arafat was the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Authority was Arafat. The result of this autocracy was, according to one Palestinian human rights activist, "a police state without a state." Arafat's critics accuse him of eliminating virtually all alternatives to him and refusing doggedly to appoint a deputy who would take over in case of the chairman’s death, senility, or incompetence. Arafat is nearly 75, and with frail health. According to Atif Udwan, professor of political science at al-Azhar University in Gaza, "when he disappears, many will leap for power and money." "The question of who will succeed Yasser Arafat will not be an exclusively Palestinian affair. There are the Jordanians, the Egyptians, the Americans, and even the Israelis. All those will try to manipulate the post-Arafat arrangements to their favor." According to the Palestinian Basic Law, the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council will assume executive power pending the election of a president in two months. However, many doubt that the largely undisciplined Fatah hierarchy would adhere to the rule of the Basic Law. According to Azmi Shuaibi, a former PA cabinet minister, the absence of Arafat will weaken Fatah considerably. Abd al-Sattar Qassim, professor of political science at al-Najah University, argues, "Fatah will definitely disintegrate and polarize into many groups and factions."

2003-12-26 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive