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A Bleak Palestinian Scenario - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Following the recent coup that took place in the Palestinian territories, a valid question continues to be asked; which is “what’s Hamas’s next step”?

There are several possibilities that suggest that “Hamas” is preparing to take similar steps to those taken in Gaza, but in the heart of the West Bank.

What “Hamas” had done was not possible without the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) itself and its inability to shift from the ideology of a militia to the ideology of a state and institution. This argument did not emerge today; it was strongly raised and objected by the late Palestinian thinker Edward Said.

Said had discussed numerous controversial issues with Yasser Arafat, which Edward Said believed (and he was right in doing so) would affect the efficiency of management of the Palestinian cause and the administration of the country afterwards. Said was not the only one to voice concerns against the seriousness of the situation regarding the PLO, the same fear was voiced by the Haidar Abdel-Shafi who had taken proactive stances against many of the excesses that took place within the Palestinian arena, which led to the withdrawal of both figures from official political activity. This came as a big shock because Palestinian politics was in dire need of figures of this significance, credibility and merit.

Other “strange” and “suspicious” figures surfaced. These individuals were of inconceivable influence, gained funding from unknown sources and [engaged in] mysterious activity. All this had easily generated groups, parties and centers of power within the organization itself; authority is the strongest drug and whoever gains authority will not forsake it as known in the world of politics.

However, the Palestinians themselves have forgotten who they really are amid the Hamas-Fatah conflict. They are like young children who play doctors, teachers, engineers or cops and robbers. Between “Fatah” and “Hamas”, Palestinians decided to play “government” and got carried away. They have forgotten that the real state is yet to be formed and that their lands are not liberated, therefore domestic conflict over power (which is what it is) should have never preceded the main priorities that should strengthen the fragile structure of the emerging state.

The scenario of domestic Palestinian destruction is not yet over because the basic ills still exist within “Fatah” and it is a fragile leadership that is not capable of addressing corruption within it nor is it able to enforce the laws that it issues. With regards to “Hamas”, there is a controlled leadership, the strings for which are moved by intelligence authorities of other states. Hamas is not the decision maker. There is a state of persistence of extremist discourse that does not unite the people of Palestine.

It is true that democracy is what brought “Hamas” to power in Palestine, but democracy can never be an excuse to silence, terrorize and prosecute people simply because they disagree with “Hamas”.

These difficult parts of the bleak Palestinian scenario will only end with the emergence of a third alternative because “Fatah” has been contaminated by corruption whereas hypocrisy has destroyed “Hamas”.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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