Excellent piece in the Economist from Balata Camp in Nablus states what anyone who visits the occupation knows, this can’t last. The political efforts to end the occupation have failed, the likelihood of violence is high. And, implicitly, the Palestinian Authority is a stooge government like the Bantustan governments the South Africans sought to install (a devastating theme of the great new film, Roadmap to Apartheid, which I saw last night in New York).
Nablus’s commercial regeneration cannot cure a gnawing national malaise. “There is no political horizon,” say disgruntled Palestinians. They increasingly question the point of the PA. It has failed to usher in a Palestinian state, and appears powerless to prevent Israeli military incursions or the relentless expansion of Jewish settlements on the West Bank. “All the windows are closed, and the political elite has no keys to open them,” says Raid Nairat, an academic. The West Bank’s 30,000 security forces seem unkeen on a recent quest for reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas that would force them to share power. Their recent round-up of 150 Hamas men helped dampen hopes of a deal….
Few Palestinians call for a renewal of violence. But such talk is again in the air. In some West Bank towns Hizb ut-Tahrir, an extreme Islamist group, has been making headway. “A Muslim army should defend Muslims, not Jews,” says an angry Islamist, denouncing the PA’s security co-ordination with Jewish kuffar (unbelievers).