The Palestinians after Arafat

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VOL. 34

2004/05

No. 3
P. 42
Letter from the Occupied Territories
The Palestinians after Arafat
ABSTRACT

The death of Yasir Arafat in November 2004 has given newly elected PA president Mahmoud Abbas the chance to pursue his strategy of cease-fire (with Israel), reform (of PA institutions), and negotiations (over the Quartet-sponsored road map and final status issues). In assessing the prospects of success for this strategy, the author examines three main obstacles: opposition from Hamas and other Palestinian groups; disunity within Abbas's own Fatah movement; and Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon's agenda, which is totally at odds with the PA's vision of a Palestinian "state." The dilemma facing Abbas is that the final status issues must be confronted as soon as possible if there is any chance for a viable state, but the kind of struggle necessary to negotiate successfully requires thorough-going reform, which takes time the Palestinians do not have. GRAHAM USHER is a journalist based in the occupied territories and author of several books, including Dispatches from Palestine: The Rise and Fall of the Oslo Peace Process  (Pluto Press, 1999).


Graham Usher is a journalist based in the occupied territories and author of several books, including Dispatches from Palestine: The Rise and Fall of the Oslo Peace Process  (Pluto Press, 1999).