The Palestinians at Mecca

[Ha'aretz] Danny Rubinstein - The Fatah-Hamas talks in Mecca reflect one of the lowest points in the history of the Palestinian national movement. The Palestinians, who claim to be a coherent national entity, are admitting they are incapable of managing their own affairs and are compelled to seek outside intervention. When the PLO was founded over 40 years ago, a main slogan was "independent decision-making," meaning that the Palestinians would make all decisions affecting themselves independently, regardless of the interests of other states. Recently, however, the increased involvement by Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and now Saudi Arabia shows that the Palestinians have lost their "independent decision-making." Even the best Fatah-Hamas agreement will not turn Palestinian society into a Western democracy overnight. A traditional social structure, clan loyalties and political factionalism all create a need for an authoritarian leader, like those of the PA's Arab neighbors. Without a leader like Arafat, society collapses into the rule of violent gangs.

2007-02-07 01:00:00

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