CORRUPTION OVER NATIONALISM
The Atlantic Monthly has a cover story ( subscription required) entitled “ In a Ruined Country: How Yasir Arafat Destroyed Palestine “that describes an all too common paradigm for Gap states – personalized rule of a ” Big Man”, multiplying networks of corruption, lack of transparency, democracy and rule of law and the threat of anarchic violence as a countervailing force to official misrule.
I seldom write on Israeli-Palestinian conflicts because the problem is presently insoluble. There can be no peace without a Palestinian state and there can be no Palestinian state until Palestinians accept that such a state at peace with Israel is an end in itself and not a mere waystation en route to Israel’s discorporation. The almost sixty-year old fantasy of driving the Jews into the sea when all facts point to a power calculus that would make that impossible indicates that Palestinian nationalism is actually secondary or tertiary to anti-Zionism, anti-semitism, pan-Arabism, Islamism and material factional interests.
The PA does not possess a monopoly over the use of force required to deliver upon any agreement with the Israeli government and neither the gangsters who run the PA nor HAMAS nor pro-settler Israeli hawks see in any interest in seeing the PA become stronger and effectively accountable. It is a shame because a genuine peace would bring enormous economic benefits to Israelis and Arabs alike as capital and labor markets were allowed to normalize and joint regional development projects would become possible.
Arafat, who may have looted upwards of a billion dollars from his people is gone but in his place are would-be mini-Arafats, the East bloc trained, hard-eyed chieftains of Fatah and the religious extremists of HAMAS and Islamic Jihad. Peace requires moderates and ME politics has little room for them.