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Is the Palestinian Authority Collapsing in on Itself?

World  (tags: Fatah losing credibility. Palestinians w )

- 2029 days ago -
Fatah loses out in West Bank elections; thousands of Jerusalem Arabs want to be Israeli citizens and Palestinians would rather spend their money (and earn it) on Israel's side of the security barrier. On October 20th, the PA held its first major round of

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Beth S (330)
Sunday November 4, 2012, 8:27 pm

Fatah loses out in West Bank elections; thousands of Jerusalem Arabs want to be Israeli citizens and Palestinians would rather spend their money (and earn it) on Israel's side of the security barrier.

Are we seeing the collapse of the Palestinian Authority (PA) along with the two-state solution it was supposed to be promoting?

On October 20th, the PA held its first major round of elections since 2006 when Hamas came out on top in a surprise result.

In a shock to the restrictive policies of Fatah, a number of candidates rebelled and stood in opposition to their old party. Unfortunately for Fatah, many of them won as well.

There were local municipal elections in 93 areas of the PA and voters were faced with a mix of candidates from Fatah, Fatah rebels and various left-wing parties (no Hamas candidates, since Hamas boycotted the elections).

As reported on BBC News, Fatah only won in around 40% of the municipalities and four major towns and cities are now run by non-Fatah mayors and councils (including Ramallah, seat of PA government). This is a massive vote of no confidence in the corruption-ridden and oppressive PA regime - and there will be another round of elections in the remaining 82 municipal areas currently under Fatah control. Potentially, by Christmas, Fatah could find themselves with hardly anyone in the many towns and villages of the West Bank to govern.

Rubbing salt in the wound of chaotic election results came the news, released by Fatah's official with the "Jerusalem Portfolio", that more than 10,000 Jerusalem Arabs had been granted Israeli citizenship.

Since Jerusalem is being claimed by the PA for the capital of a Palestinian state, there may not be too many Palestinians left there to be its citizens. This exodus from PA control, against warnings and threats from both Fatah and Hamas, started in 1993 with the Oslo Accords as Jerusalem's Arab inhabitants realised what they would lose if the city came under Palestinian government.

Gone would be the top quality health care, access to good jobs and a standard of living unequalled in all the surrounding nations. Add to this the benefits of being part of a democracy and free access through Ben Gurion airport to the rest of the world and you can well understand the eagerness of many Palestinians to get the dark blue passport of Israeli citizenship. The applications have increased in recent years with fears of losing Israeli residence and coming back under PA control.

Just a week before the municipal elections and with unemployment in the PA area running at 17%, Israel increased the number of work permits for Palestinians by 10,000 to 40,000. That's official permits - it's believed that up to another 60,000 Palestinians are working in Israel illegally. And many Palestinians work in the "illegal" Israeli settlements in the West Bank as well; an arrangement forbidden by the PA but profitable for both Palestinian workers and settlement employers (but that's a whole other blog post by itself).

There are other indications of the impending collapse of the PA, adding to the futility of Mahmoud Abbas' attempts to move towards a UN-recognised state. For one, the PA is bankrupt. Its Arab donors are letting it down and not paying up. Western donor nations are being pushed to increase donations, yet the PA still pours money into paying imprisoned terrorists salaries instead of its own officials and corruption is as rife as ever. Donors to the PA are pouring their dollars into a big black hole.

After years of rampant corruption, violent gagging of independent Palestinian media outlets and only a chaotic appearance of democracy, the "old guard" PA has lost all credibility on the Palestinian street. This was clearly indicated by the rebellion of so many Fatah candidates in the municipal elections, standing (and winning) as independents against their own political leaders.

Abbas may go back to the UN again this year to apply for an upgrade to his current observer status. But since he has little political credit among his own people, no money to boost his economy and not even agreed borders for his dream state, an independent Palestine remains just that - a dream.

Watch the remaining municipal elections in November carefully. We may well see the practical breakup of the PA regime into semi-autonomous local councils defying edicts from Fatah Central in Ramallah. This could prove beneficial to local citizens as their towns decide their own economic relations with Israel, but fatal to the overall aims of Fatah and the PLO and a total waste of nearly twenty years of "two state" diplomacy.

monica r (41)
Sunday November 4, 2012, 8:49 pm
Well, if I had to choose 7th century or this century, I'd choose this century, too. They're not stupid. They see how much worse they would have it. Can't blame them for wanting to hold what they have.

Patricia Martin (19)
Sunday November 4, 2012, 9:35 pm
Despite incessant attempts by the Left and the pro-Islam crowd to demonize and delegitimize Israel and victimizing Palestinians, the truth on the ground is that Palestinians have fared far worse under Palestinian stewardship, where Western money to prop up Palestinian governments has sunk into the deep black holes of corrupt Palestinian politicians' pockets.

It was only a matter of time till this happened.

. (7)
Sunday November 4, 2012, 9:41 pm
It would have happened sooner if the West didn't pander to Palestinian pleas of victimhood and keep throwing money into a bottomless latrine. This has just prolonged Palestinian anger and intransigence. It's time for Arab countries -- because Palestinian identity is relatively new in the Arab world to absorb them fully into Arab countries.

Remuneration for all that Arab Jews lost -- their property and money being kicked out of Arab countries is probably very close to any remuneration for Arabs that fled Israel.

Time to call a spade a spade and admit the Palestinians can't govern themselves.

Carol Dreeszen (346)
Sunday November 4, 2012, 11:17 pm
Good will always triumph over evil!!

patrica and edw jones (190)
Monday November 5, 2012, 12:28 am
Palestinians receive one of the highest levels of foreign aid - so where is the money being spent. Not on the people it would seem. Corruption is rife and big money is spent on defence - defence of what? If Abbas was to make a firm proposal for peace talks between Israel and the P.A - the Palestinian economy would go ahead in leaps and bounds - the rest of the world could heave a sigh of relief and get on with living in relative peace. But perhaps that is too big an 'ask'?

pam w (139)
Monday November 5, 2012, 8:26 am
Time will tell....hard to believe ANYTHING good coming from this part of the world, especially if it involves human behavior.

Alexander Werner (53)
Monday November 5, 2012, 7:01 pm
Considering contribution to the world progress made by Israel, and the only contribution of Arab countries besides oil, one keeps wondering, why people want to create 23-rd Arab country, when Druze, Kurds, Bahai do not have their countries and Israel has to fight off same very Arab states?

Ray Shaw (13)
Tuesday November 6, 2012, 12:18 am
Netanyahu, the warmonger, has to be voted out of office before Israel becomes a peaceful place again.

Gillian M (218)
Tuesday November 6, 2012, 9:34 am
Patricia/Edward, when Arafat was in charge he used the money to buy arms and other weapons, paid the terrorists and police as well as having 6 5* hotels and several million dollars when he died. The EU said that the money was being tracked (no it wasn't) anymore than the UN relief was. Israel tracked it and put the original documents on the internet but no-one cared. Aid was stolen by Hama and sold to the Palestinians and Lebanon refused to allow it through because of that.

Israel was blamed for it (no, really?) because it was always Israel's fault. The fact that Arafat did not want peace was always ignored to the extent that he received a joke, a shared Nobel Peace prize! Mind you, Obama received a similar joke so that shows how little that prize is now worth.
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