Saturday, August 4, 2007

Repeating a historic failure

Haaretz: By Shlomo Avineri

What we are now seeing in the Gaza Strip - the inability of the two Palestinian factions to work together within an agreed-upon framework - is nothing but a repeat of this historic failure of the Palestinians. The current Palestinian excuse is that it is difficult to establish coherent political institutions in conditions of territorial fragmentation, refugees and Israeli occupation. All this is true, but irrelevant. Every national movement emerges in difficult conditions, which usually have to do with being under foreign rule. ... But this is the test of a national movement: whether it is able to transform a crisis into a historical moment of opportunity.

The Arab world as a whole does not excel at building institutions, and certainly not democratic ones. Thus far the Palestinian movement has not transcended this common Arab heritage. In the near future this will be its major test: If it does not become aware of the historical burden it is carrying on its shoulders and overcome it, the Palestinians' legitimate desire for independence will shatter on the rocks of the harsh internal reality that has accompanied their movement.

From a considerably longer article, citing chapter and verse.

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