Wendy Kalman
There are many ways to see and understand

The near future of Palestinian politics

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses a rare meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council on Sunday, February 6, 2021 (WAFA)

This past week, Mahmoud Abbas delivered a speech at a rare gathering of Fatah leadership. At the Central Committee meeting, he touted interactions with the Israeli government as a way “to solve issues that serve our people’s interests,” while also acknowledging that these meetings are not a substitute for a political solution to the issue of their lack of self-sovereignty. Hamas has been known to characterize the security cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and Israel in a far more unfavorable light. And according to this interesting article by Jehad Barakat in Al Jazeera on how the PA is cracking down on opposition including by obstructing and attacking funeral possessions and prisoner release celebrations, Hamas is gaining favor among Palestinians, as they had last May. Interestingly, Gazans are speaking up online against Hamas’ iron rule, but how much does #TheyKidnappedGaza resonate with residents of the West Bank?

But Hamas is not the only ones in this dynamic. Fatah has its own issues, whether it is corruption or internal rivalry. When Abbas (86) cancelled elections in light of anticipated losses, it pushed those who do not support him to further look at alternative leaders. And that is perhaps why his latest move – to appoint loyalists only – may make things worse. In Yohanan Tzoreff’s analysis for the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), an independent Israeli research institute and think tank affiliated with Tel Aviv University, the writer points out that these appointments made during this meeting shut out others and will further increase dissatisfaction.

Whether Israel is trying to strengthen the PA against Hamas or its government sees the human value in working with the PA to improve things economically and otherwise for Palestinians, the question remains – how will Palestinians view these actions by the PA if they take place simultaneously while opposition is clamped down upon, corruption exists, and Fatah’s hold is cemented in undemocratic ways?

About the Author
Born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island, Wendy lived in Jerusalem for over a decade submerged in Israeli culture; she has been soaked in Southern life in metro Atlanta since returning to the U.S. in 2003. An Ashkenazi mom to Mizrahi sons born in Israel and the US, a DIL born in France and a step mom to sons born in the South, she celebrates trying to see from multiple perspectives and hope this comes out in her blogs. Wendy splits her time between her research position at the Center for Israel Education, completing dual master's degrees in public administration and integrated global communications, digging into genealogy and bring distant family together, relentlessly Facebooking, and enjoying the arts as well. All of this is to say -- there are many ways to see and understand.
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