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Palestinian Politics after Arafat

A Failed National Movement

As'ad Ghanem

Publication Year: 2010

The Palestinian national movement reached a dead-end and came close to disintegration at the beginning of the present century. The struggle for power after the death of Yasser Arafat in 2004 signaled the end of a path toward statehood prepared by the Oslo Accords a decade before. The reasons for the failure of the movement are deeply rooted in modern Palestinian history. As'ad Ghanem analyzes the internal and external events that unfolded as the Palestinian national movement became a "failed national movement," marked by internecine struggle and collapse, the failure to secure establishment of a separate state and achieve a stable peace with Israel, and the movement's declining stature within the Arab world and the international community.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: Indiana Series in Middle East Studies

Title Page

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pp. ix-x

This book represents an attempt to understand the situation of the Palestinians and their national movement at the start of the twenty-first century. This has been a period of reversals and change; it is different in essence from earlier periods of Palestinian history since the Palestinian Nakba. I shall focus on the period which began following the Oslo Accords and the establishment of the...

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Introduction: Theoretical Framework and Historical Background

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pp. 1-19

The post-Oslo era in Israeli-Palestinian politics has been a period of reversals and change for the Palestinian national movement. This period is different in essence from earlier periods of Palestinian history for two primary reasons. First, the changes observed during this period are taking place within the context of a geographical shift in the center of gravity from the Palestinian diasporas to the...

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1. The Israeli Post-Oslo Strategy: The Demographic Threat and the Shift from Conflict Resolution to Conflict Management

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pp. 21-37

Despite the fact that many analysts address the Oslo Accords as the cornerstone of any peace process or historical agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, it is clear that in recent years the political situation that prevailed during the time at which these agreements were signed has undergone a fundamental transformation. Responding to internal politics and impeded...

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2. Israeli Public Attitudes toward Peace with the Palestinians: Which Peace?

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pp. 39-70

Israeli policy changes in the second half of the 1990s rested in part on an understanding of the Israeli public mood and a desire to move closer to it, for political and electoral reasons. Ariel Sharon and the Israeli leadership understood that the Israeli public was not ready for an agreement that would meet the Palestinians' demands or expectations about the implementation of international...

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3. Arafat’s Heritage of Political Control

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pp. 71-90

The roots of the current Palestinian situation go back to the nature of the regime that was created by Arafat after the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), and to his regime within the structure of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The way in which Arafat led the Palestinians can provide a partial explanation for both Palestinian achievements since the...

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4. The Politics of Reform in the Palestinian National Authority

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pp. 91-107

The corruption versus reform debate among the Palestinians and in the international arena constituted a major factor in the historical transformation that followed the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority. This becomes particularly apparent when we consider the nature of the transformation in the division and control of authorities before 1994, i.e., within the Palestine...

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5. Palestinians in Search of Authoritative Leadership after Arafat

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pp. 109-141

Following the death of Yasser Arafat in November 2004, the Palestinian political system and leadership faced a difficult choice over the renewal of the leadership, as Arafat had been the spine of that regime over the previous decades. He had been the leader of both the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) for a very long time, so his death left a...

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6. The Empowerment of Hamas and the Outbreak of Palestinian Infighting

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pp. 143-169

In late 2006 the intra-Palestinian conflict took a more tangible form in the infighting between Fateh, represented by President Abu Mazen, and Hamas, represented by Prime Minister Ismail Haniya. This infighting became violent in December 2006, after Hamas accused Fateh supporters of attempting to assassinate Haniya on his return from a tour of Arab and Islamic states. The goal...

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pp. 171-185

More than fifty years after the revival of the Palestinian national movement, it is clear that this movement, which reached its zenith in the 1970s and 1980s, is disintegrating. It has become a failed national movement, because it has been unable to achieve the objectives it set for itself. The movement is in a state of shock and internal disintegration, the practical reflection of which is the absence...

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pp. 187-188

The "Gaza War" between Israel and Hamas (December 2008--January 2009) started while this book was in production. Although the implications of this war are highly relevant to the themes and arguments discussed in this book, I was not able to present full analysis of these aspects, and will limit the discussion, at this stage, to the following...


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pp. 189-198


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pp. 199-202


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pp. 203-208

E-ISBN-13: 9780253004017
E-ISBN-10: 0253004012
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253354273

Page Count: 222
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Indiana Series in Middle East Studies