The Palestinian political regime has been living through a crisis ever since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993. Many wrote about this crisis; especially the part pertaining to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its “backbone,” Fatah. Despite the consensus that this formulated crisis is dangerous and foreshadows insalubrious outcomes, it crisis remains untreated.
The assassination attempt on Nabil Amro, a member of Fatah’s revolutionary council, and before it the resignations and abduction operations, in addition to the general protest against Arafat’s organizational policies; especially his decision to appoint Moussa Arafat as the leader of the National Security Forces, came to deepen the convictions of the citizens in the West Bank and Gaza that the crisis is cumbersome and the forces of the Palestinian regime are impotent and indifferent to the Palestinian needs. Regardless of the differences in the explanation of events, an objective reading of these events asserts that the core of this crisis took the form of a “revolution” that remained confined in the context of Fatah’s organizational structure in the Gaza Strip. The abductors were incapable of expanding the circle of conflict and they were incapable of extending it to the West Bank. I believe that the toppling of Arafat and his authority was not the intent of the revolutionaries and they did not aim at forcing Fatah’s leadership to go back on some of its decisions. They did not aim at promoting their status in the security apparatus before the implementation of Sharon’s proclaimed withdrawal from Gaza. No matter what the opinion of Fatah’s central leadership and its explanation of events, the “rebellion” was a sign that the crisis of Fatah and the authority has reached an explosive stage. The resignation of Ahmad Qureih and the problems that Arafat faced in dealing with the situation only aggravated the situation further.
I believe that the presence of the occupation, the considerations pertaining to the security structure, and Fatah’s internal relations impede the rise of revolutions on the Palestinian scene that are similar to the traditional military coups. If the earthquake of Fatah will occur, it will destroy the structure of the authority and it will tear the unity inside Fatah. It will also deepen the hopelessness and the desperation of the Palestinian people.
Personally, I am not one of those who support the theory of an “external conspiracy” that some of the Arab regimes and some of the Palestinian leaders advocated in their explanation. I believe that the hastening in the accusation is a not the ideal way to solve this crisis, it only intensifies it further. It does not cut the road of foreign intervention; it only transforms it into an open highway for all kinds of interventions. Everyone knows that President Bush and any other Arab leader are not interested in the destruction of the Palestinian Authority, dismantling Fatah and getting rid of Arafat at this stage. If a revolution occurs, it would confuse everybody; especially that, as it seems, there is no other alternative in the near future. Foreign intervention, if it exists, does not go beyond the manipulation of the situation towards exerting pressure on Arafat.
Fatah’s state of affairs and the Palestinian forces was never passable ever since the establishment of the PA in 1993. The leadership cannot blame Israel and the regional forces for the chronic diseases inside Fatah. Blaming the foreign forces for political chaos and jumping over the reasons of the failure of the dialogues in Cairo, Gaza, and Ramallah, does not help in diagnosing the disease and identifying the necessary treatment.
The conflict over authority has escalated a few steps along the ladder of determination. It seems that the members of Fatah are in a rush towards climbing the remaining steps. It is believed that Sharon will implement his plan of withdrawal from Gaza, despite the mobilization of the settlers against that plan.
No matter what the intentions of the “revolutionaries” were, the abductions harmed the PA and Fatah, because the timing was inappropriate and it coexisted with Sharon’s escalation attempt to annex the Palestinian lands in his attempt to continue the construction of the Israeli fence. In any case, I believe that Fatah’s leadership is required to administer the conflict with patience and virtue.
It is taken for granted that the return of Qureih on his resignation is an important step. The national Islamic forces should not be spectators over the conflict; for this would harm all Palestinians. All the Palestinians should work together in order to reconsider the fallacies and devise a plan based on discarding them concerning the withdrawal from Gaza.