Palestine: The end or a new beginning?

There is a strong case for saying that Palestine is a lost cause. And it, the case, can be summarised as follows.

* The nuclear-armed Zionist (not Jewish) state of Israel is the regional superpower and not remotely interested in peace on terms the Palestinians could accept. The vast majority of its Jews have been brainwashed by Zionist propaganda and as a consequence are not open to rational and reasoned discussion about justice for the Palestinians. And that leaves Israel’s leaders free to continue the policy of taking (stealing) for keeps the maximum amount of Palestinian land with the minimum number of Arabs on it.

* As things are the major world powers are not going to use the leverage they have to cause (or try to cause) Israel to end its defiance of international law and denial of justice for the Palestinians.

* The regimes of a corrupt, authoritarian and divided Arab Order have no interest in any kind of confrontation with Israel; and they do not have the will to use the leverage they have to press the major powers, the one in Washington D.C. especially, to oblige Israel to be serious about peace on the basis of justice for the Palestinians and security for all.

* The occupied and oppressed Palestinians have no credible leadership. (And that reality won’t be changed simply by Mahmoud Abbas standing down to make way for another “President”).

The idea for this article was triggered by an analysis written for Al-Shabaka, The Palestinian Policy Network, by Palestinian professor Tariq Dana. The title of his policy briefing paper was Corruption in Palestine: A Self-Enforcing System.

Dana is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Hebron University. (Established in 1971 it was the first educational institution for university education in Palestine).

Al-Shabaka, which means The Network, was created in 2009 and is registered in California. It brings together some of the best and brightest Palestinian writers and thinkers around the world and describes itself as “a think-tank without borders and walls.” Its mission, drawing off the experience of the Palestinian people, is “to engage the broadest spectrum of perspectives in debate on policy and strategy”, and, “to communicate ideas and strategies on resolving the Palestinian-Israel conflict to Palestinian communities as well as to Arab and other policy communities and interested parties worldwide.”

The Overview to Dana’s policy briefing paper noted that according to a recent survey 81% of the occupied and oppressed Palestinians believe the Palestine Authority (PA) is corrupt.

Dana then put some flesh on the bone of corruption with this statement.


Corruption in Palestinian Authority (PA) institutions should not be perceived as merely a matter of administrative and financial wrongdoing committed by irresponsible individuals whose behaviour is driven by greed and personal interests. The scandals that Palestinians hotly debate from time to time – such as embezzlement of public funds, misappropriation of resources, and nepotism – are an outcome of longstanding corruption embedded in the underlying power structure that governs the Palestinian political system and that were rooted in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) prior to the Oslo process.


If I was in dialogue with Dana I would ask him this question. Isn’t the real point that the PA has become just like all other Arab governments? I imagine he would say “Yes.”

From conversations many years ago I know that Arafat and the other founding fathers of Fatah and the authentic PLO didn’t want that to happen. They really did want their state to be democratic (which was one of the reasons why the Arab regimes feared and even loathed the authentic PLO). I can recall, for example, what was said to me by Khalad Hassan, a founding father of Fatah and its intellectual giant on the right. “We have to be democratic. If we become just another Arab regime we will fail.”

Dana also offered this observation.


Corruption has been a major contributing factor to the Palestinian national movement’s inability to achieve its objectives and now also serves the objectives of Israel’s occupation.


My way of putting it is to say that corruption helped to guarantee that the PA became, by default but effectively, a Zionist collaborator.

Dana’s conclusion was this (my emphasis added).


Corruption will remain endemic within the PA as long as the Palestinians themselves do not begin restructuring their national institutions according to democratic principles and standards of accountability, as part of a broader strategy to pursue self-determination and Palestinian national rights, including freedom from occupation.


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