By Barry Rubin
“One wonders why this group, reputed to have more insight than the man in the street, needed such brutal shocks before they could recognize the true nature of the system and perceive what a simple peasant or train conductor had known for years.”
–Miklos Molnar, 1956, on the failure of the Hungarian intelligentsia to denounce the repressive Communist regime.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has resigned once again. What’s news, however, is that PA “President” Mahmoud Abbas has accepted it. While it’s hard to believe that Fayyad will finally be ousted–the Western donors want him in power–the continuing frustrations of the only honest and relatively moderate Palestinian official shows that the PA has made no progress toward moderation, state-building, or real economic success. This is despite what might be the highest per capita foreign aid in world history. It also sheds new light on what often seems to be the world’s best-kept secret: The Palestinian leadership doesn’t want a peaceful solution with Israel.
In June 2010–almost three years ago–Tom Friedman wrote a column called “The Real Palestinian Revolution in which he said:
“It is a revolution based on building Palestinian capacity and institutions not just resisting Israeli occupation, on the theory that if the Palestinians can build a real economy, a professional security force and an effective, transparent government bureaucracy it will eventually become impossible for Israel to deny the Palestinians a state in the West Bank and Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem….It is the only hope left, though, for a two-state solution, so it needs to be quietly supported.”
Well, almost three years later, there is no real Palestinian economy but only one still dependent on foreign aid. There has been no progress toward a professional security force or an effective government bureaucracy. The only thing that’s happened is that without doing any of these things and without making any deals or compromises with Israel, and without reducing the incitement to terrorism and hatred toward Israel, and without recapturing the Gaza Strip or even making a deal with Hamas, the Palestinian Authority received what is called non-member state status from the UN General Assembly.
So here’s the point: it isn’t real state-building or a deal with Israel for peace that gets stuff for the Palestinian leadership. It’s merely more gifts from the “international community.” That is the Palestinian Authority’s sole real strategy and that’s why there’s no hope for the non-existent “peace process.” Until or unless this point is understood by governments, mass media, or academia there will be no serious understanding of the issues involved. President Barack Obama’s revised strategy is a first step in that direction.
If you are interested in reading more about the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, you’re welcome to read my book The Arab States and the Palestine Conflict online or download it for free.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His next book, Nazis, Islamists and the Making of the Modern Middle East, written with Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, will be published by Yale University Press in January 2014. His latest book is Israel: An Introduction, also published by Yale. Thirteen of his books can be read and downloaded for free at the website of the GLORIA Center including The Arab States and the Palestine Conflict, The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East and The Truth About Syria. His blog is Rubin Reports. His original articles are published at PJMedia.