Palestinian Politics at a Crossroads
While the Palestinian elections in January did not, as many have claimed, automatically signal the beginning of a new era, there is no doubt that crucial changes in Palestinian politics are underway. What is at stake is the transformation of the Palestinian political system (and its accompanying mindset) from that which prevailed in the diaspora to the one that will characterize Palestine in the new stage, which will effectively begin with the conclusion of the final status negotiations and the holding of new general elections. It is during the transitional stage (from now until that time) that the political map of Palestine will be reshaped. There is every reason to believe that this transformation will be painful for the leadership, the political factions, and society in general.
Ali Jarbawi is associate professor of political science at Birzeit University.