Unpopular & Ineffective, Palestinian Authority Can't Drive 'Two-State Solution'


(MENAFN- IANS) New Delhi, Dec 2 (IANS) The US may reach out in hope of bringing some semblance of stability to the Palestinian regions but matters remain mired with uncertainty, given decades of the pervasive conditions there.

It was in 2006 that Palestinian legislative elections were held and the Hamas-backed Change and Reform Party emerged victorious and Palestinian Authority's (PA) rule in Gaza was pushed to the brink of an end altogether.

While armed clashes followed in Gaza, the weak and incompetent PA rule made space for arming the rival clans. After a spate of intra-Palestine violence, Hamas drove out PA.

However, Gaza landing in the hands of Hamas came with its own share of problems: Palestinians widely see it as a method to induce some degree of stability in Gaza and West Bank at the behest of Israel.

Further, the involvement of the US and Europe in the rupture of Palestinian politics after the 2006 election resulted in withholding aid and channeling it to Fatah.

It is understood that Hamas is not particularly popular and Palestinians have not been allowed to choose their leader since 2006. Added to this is the involvement of various domestic and international actors to the dynamic that have prevented meaningful elections.

All said and done, PA would anyhow need Israel to first reverse its“longstanding policy to disconnect Gaza from the West Bank and to treat Gaza as a non-entity in political and governing terms”, and such a proposition seems unlikely.

PA's ability to govern Gaza is heavily doubtful. The attempts to patch up PA with Hamas over the years have failed and in case Hamas leadership is toppled, wider splits and tensions in Palestinian society will come to the fore more glaringly. This would make it more difficult to negotiate the return of PA to power.

Further, PA will need an election to return to power and that seems unlikely given the possibility of violence.

PA's rule in Gaza had ended in severe humiliation when Fatah members (some stripped to their underpants) fled Gaza strip for West Bank. This has been an enduring impression of the collapse of PA.

The massive unpopularity of PA in West Bank, which it controls, is because that is also understood to be at the behest of the Israeli population. As a matter of fact, PA also needs the Israeli Army's security to survive.

PA was set up following the 1993 Oslo Accords with the purpose of serving as a temporary administration till the time an independent Palestinian state emerged. PA excludes Hamas.

PA is dominated by Fatah and has been run by the 88-year-old by President Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu Mazen) . Fatah is the largest faction of the confederated multi-party Palestine Liberation Organization and the second-largest party in the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Abbas ensured that there are no elections since his Fatah faction lost a legislative ballot to Hamas in 2006. The previous year, he was elected president for what was supposed to be a four-year term.

Over the years, PA degraded into an authoritarian, corrupt and undemocratic administration operated by Israel.

Experts widely maintain that in order to restore PA's credibility, Hamas and other Palestinian groups must be included in its base and elections must be held to unify Gaza and West Bank under a 'two-state paradigm' with Israel.

But the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas has decimated Israel's trust in Palestinian governance, and in case elections happen, Hamas will likely emerge victorious.

However, despite the October 7 attack, Palestinians in the West Bank have generally hailed Hamas for demolishing the dominance of Israel and putting the cause of Palestinians on the forefront internationally.

Voices from ground zero clearly say that PA cannot run Gaza. For the middle class that has grown up in the relative stability of the West Bank, there is little respect for the authority owing to financial difficulties and a hacked budget.

People see the Palestinian leadership“negotiating for years for their own political survival, not for the sake of their national aspirations ...and they achieved neither.”

(Kavya Dubey may be reached at ...)

--IANS

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