Book review of “Spotlight on the crisis of the Palestinian political elite” by Jamil Hilal
Ramallah – On July 28, MIFTAH hosted a book review for the book “Spotlight on the crisis of the Palestinian political elite” by Jamil Hilal, which was attended by several members of the Palestinian Political and Social Active Youth Network and facilitated by MIFTAH project coordinator, Hassan Mahareeq.
The book is a diagnosis of the reality of the Palestinian political leadership and elite and the challenges facing them in light of regional and international changes, including the imposed priorities and obstacles to efforts towards realizing a Palestinian state.
The book’s discussion revolved around events that played a key role in the change of positions among the Palestinian political elite. Participants agreed that the Palestinian cause is hostage to the polarization between various ideas and strategies. The main cause of this, they maintained, is the marginalization of any active role for the PLO, which is the collective space for all Palestinians in their various political and social components. The cessation of this role in leading the struggle of the Palestinians allowed the opportunity for Palestinian divisions to take root and for the dispersion of efforts of the political elite, making them more vulnerable and exposed to external interferences and affected by regional changes.
The participants acknowledge the weakness of the Palestinian political field as a result of the absence of any true participation of community representatives in decision-making. They also attributed this to the fact that there are two authorities on the ground and a continuous change in balances of power, which is usually to the benefit of the Israeli occupation. In turn, the occupation’s measures on the ground constitute obstacles to the aspirations of the political elite in achieving the dream of an independent Palestinian state. Nonetheless, the participants maintained there is still a chance to bring active political forces back together through the revival of the PLO. This would allow it to reassume the tasks entrusted to it of embracing comprehensive national dialogue for a liberation strategy, which takes into consideration all the possible economic and political alternatives for creating a climate of steadfastness for the Palestinian people.
The meeting concluded with a number of recommendations revolving around the importance of a national strategy and the need to restore democratic life through organizing elections as the gateway to the legitimacy of the Palestinian political elite and to ending the political divisions. This is also through restoring the role of a PLO that is capable of shouldering the responsibilities of liberation and the establishment of a Palestinian state through local and international resistance.
This gathering was part of a series of meetings aimed at providing young leaders with the necessary knowledge to broaden their understanding of the Palestinian political field, in a bid to promote their political participation and integration in decision-making circles. This is part of MIFTAH’s efforts in promoting good governance in Palestine through preparing young, women and community leaders capable of assuming responsibilities, impacting and creating change at the local and national levels based on a democratic approach and the principles of good governance within the “Youth Empowerment” program with support from the Arab Palestinian Investment Company [APIC].