In my analysis for Foreign Policy yesterday, I argued that the PA currently has no viable way of regaining full legitimacy with its own people, and could face some sort of popular protest against it.
Today On January 31 Amira Hass had an essay in Haaretz arguing that after two intifadas in as many decades, Palestinians might not ready for another massive upheaval.
I think this assessment is mostly correct, so I am quoting it here as a way of augmenting my own assessment of how Egypt will impact Palestine. But I also think we’re also seeing some new activism by young Palestinians demanding accountability from both the PA and Hamas. These groups couching their demands in terms of unity, not democracy, which is probably a smart decision. In a conversation earlier this week, a young activist in Gaza pointed out to me that Hamas would simply not allow a democracy rally, but is allowing a unity rally to go forward.
Here’s Hass. The meat is at the end of the article:
Both in Gaza and the West Bank, the Palestinian authorities have already proven their excellent ability to suppress demonstrations. Is this what is preventing Palestinians from expressing solidarity with their Arab brethren, who for years were inspired by the scenes of the Palestinian intifada?
The fear that the protests will be suppressed is not the central reason, said a friend who is older than the young people who sought to demonstrate in Ramallah and Gaza.
“We instigated two intifadas and look what came of them – the situation only got worse,” he told me. “The first brought us the Palestinian Authority and then the expansion of the settlements; the second – destruction, Israeli repression that is worse than before, and the Hamas regime. People are depressed. They don’t see any point in protests. The hope that the dictatorship of occupation would fall if we took to the streets – like in Tunisia and Egypt – has evaporated.”