Palestinian organizational collapse looming?


An organizational collapse may be overtaking the Palestinians. notes that the Palestinian Authority, the closest thing to a central government among the many organizations claiming a right to represent Palestinian interests, is out of operating funds. There is simply no money available to meet the payroll due January 1st, 2004. According to Debka:


If Abu Ala [formally known as Ahmed Queria] quits now, he will have lasted a month and—a—half, compared with the four months his processor survived on the job before being driven out. Abu Mazen now spends most of his time in Amman and rarely ventures into the West Bank.

Abu Ala accused Arafat of exploiting the attention focused on fruitless discussions about a truce for an underhand move to help himself to the PA's funds and whisk its financial system out of the hands of the pro—American Palestinian finance minister, Salem Fayed.


More than the customary thievery of international funds donated to the Palestinians may be at work. There is evidence that rot has set in within Arafat's own Fatah organization, once the strongest political force among the fractured Palestinians. Fatah's following has faded to the extent that it was unable to hold any ceremonies celebrating its 39th anniversary on December 31st. In Nablus, Hebron, and Bethlehem, its branches have formally broken away, while elsewhere they appear to be simply dormant.


The broader context also indicates that this may be more than the normal cyclical fluctuation of factional politics. Foreign relations are in a shamble. Egypt—region> was deeply alienated by the mob attack on its foreign minister Ahmed Maher when visiting the al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on December 12th. Saddam Hussein, of course, is no longer in any position to send money or other support to the Palestinians. Syria—region>, concerned with its relations with Washington, is willing to set aside Palestinian concerns. And Jordan—region>, too, is said by Debka to unhappy:


 The word from Amman is that the Jordanians are preparing to add their voice to the Mubarak regime's vilification of the Palestinian Authority's presence on and administration of the Muslim shrines on Jerusalem's Temple Mount.


As a political movement whose identity is built on hatred and vengeance, and whose economic base is dependent of foreign aid, the Palestinians lack any positive basis for organizing themselves. Arafat's political dominance has allowed no other potential replacement to rise. Now that his mortality looms on the horizon, the organized future of the Palestinian movement is in question. If there is no one to negotiate with, then there is no point to negotiations.


Posted by Thomas  01 01 04