This innovative study examines the internal dynamics of the Palestinian political elite and their impact on the struggle to establish a Palestinian state. The PLO leadership has sought to prevent the rise of any alternative in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that can challenge its authority to represent Palestinian aspirations for self-determination. Drawing on Palestinian sources and interviews with Palestinian political leaders, Jamal argues that the Fatah leadership has attempted to mobilize new social forces—local secular-nationalist and Islamist movements—while undermining their ability to develop independent power structures. This policy has served to radicalize the younger local elites, contributing to the tensions that precipitated the first and second intifadas. Israel’s policies have undermined the legitimacy of the national elite, while enhancing the Islamist opposition’s ideological legitimacy. In this way, internal elite disunity and growing political differentiation have worked against development of a common Palestinian strategy of state-building.
Though Hamas has learned to ride the tides of popular support, it remains suspended between its quest to achieve the values of its ardent supporters (reclamation of land through force) and the desire to grow popular support. This tension is reflected in how and when the group exercises violent resistance. The theoretical framework applied in this volume provides a simple construct to understand the dynamics that result in use and non-use of violence under changing environmental conditions by Hamas, but could be applied more broadly to other power-seeking insurgent groups, including ISIL. The book weaves together the dynamics between violent actions and internal and external influences on Hamas, including: expressed values of the group, Palestinian popular support measures, leaders’ personalities and innovation (weapons and tactics), Israeli influence and targeted killings, peace processes and conflicts in Gaza, Syria, Iraq and Egypt. With newly assembled datasets on Hamas’ violent acts and public statements, Israeli Targeted Killings, historical measures of popular support and extensive field interviews, the book offers a fresh perspective on insurgent group violence by demonstrating under what conditions the group exercises violence or refrains from doing so.
This book will be of much interest to both policy makers and students of the Arab-Israeli conflict, political violence, Middle Eastern politics, security studies and international relations in general.
In September 2011, president Mahmoud Abbas stood before the United Nations General Assembly and dramatically announced his intention to achieve recognition of Palestinian statehood. The United States roundly opposed the move then, but two years later, Washington revived dreams for Palestinian statehood through bilateral diplomacy with Israel. But are the Palestinians prepared for the next step? In State of Failure, Middle East expert Jonathan Schanzer argues that the reasons behind Palestine's inertia are far more complex than we realize. Despite broad international support, Palestinian independence is stalling because of internal mismanagement, not necessarily because of Israeli intransigence. Drawing on exclusive sources, the author shows how the PLO under Yasser Arafat was ill prepared for the task of statebuilding. Arafat's successor, Mahmoud Abbas, used President George W. Bush's support to catapult himself into the presidency. But the aging leader, now four years past the end of his elected term, has not only failed to implement much needed reforms but huge sums of international aid continue to be squandered, and the Palestinian people stand to lose everything as a result. Supporters of Palestine and Israel alike will find Schanzer's narrative compelling at this critical juncture in Middle Eastern politics.
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