- International Community Must Focus on Palestinian Unity, Not Israel, to Kick-Start Peace – Jonathan Schanzer
The local elections scheduled to be held in the West Bank and Gaza onOct. 8 were suspended earlier this month, 11 years since the last elections held in both territories. As long as the West continues to ignore this political stagnation, the future prospects for a viable Palestinian state will only become more remote. Today, the West Bank and Gaza are two separate entities, with distinct governments, economies, bureaucracies, financial patrons and competing ideological visions, locked in a Machiavellian struggle for control.
The Hamas government was first elected in 2006 as an alternative to Fatah corruption. But the leaders of Gaza run the territory like a mob syndicate and pilfer humanitarian aid. The Islamist group also continues to prepare for more conflict with Israel rather than dealing with the economic problems of the people it governs. The Hamas leadership structure is also just as sclerotic as that of the West Bank.
Rather than addressing these failings, the international community continues to focus on getting the Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table. The Palestinians have two states, themselves. What’s needed first is a plan to tackle the Palestinian political stagnation. So long as Hamas remains in power in Gaza, the chances of a unified and politically recognized Palestinian government are effectively nil.
- The writer is vice-president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Newsweek)
- See also Next Month’s Palestinian Local Elections Aren’t Happening – Here’s Why – Diana B. Greenwald (Washington Post)
(Click on the title of either article to see the whole article…Ed.)