Does the West Bank Stand on a Crater?

The political, health, economic, social and security conditions in the West Bank are severely deteriorating, as they are going from bad to worse. Chances of controlling them seem difficult due to the lack of clear policies capable of combating and resolving the consecutive crises.

Written by: Majed Al-Aruri

The political, health, economic, social and security conditions in the West Bank are severely deteriorating, as they are going from bad to worse. Chances of controlling them seem difficult due to the lack of clear policies capable of combating and resolving the consecutive crises. It also appears that the tangible as well as undeclared conflicts related to political succession within the government’s institutions is the main reason for the exacerbation of these crises. Each of these parties attempts to obstruct the other party. For example, when one party becomes stronger and gains a little bit of popularity, the rest of the parties unite in order to weaken it.

All kinds of rivalry and competition are present, and is not only accredited to one specific institution. Competition was evident when attempting to obtain Coronavirus testing samples at the beginning of the crisis. Do those behind Waqfet Ezz Fund know how these attempts have failed? The imposed preventive measures related to the opening and closing of stores was an integral part of all the conflicts. Some of the events that aimed to thwart government decisions were not far from being a political competition. During the first months of the COVID-19 outbreak, employees in the public sector were not getting paid due to the financial crisis the government is encountering as a result of the pandemic, thus causing the private sector to also suffer. Therefore, both sectors united against the government’s measures and actions. Furthermore, whenever the government talks about the Ministry of Finance or the Monetary Authority, it feels as if it’s talking about financial institutions that are not under its control. Rivalry and political competition within the government’s institutions has affected its official performance and all aspects of life.

Political rivalry and the accompanying poor performance in dealing with the successive crises led the public’s rebellion against the precautionary measures announced by the government. Confidence in its performance worsened due to the mishandling of the youth movement, “Tafah al-Kel,”meaning fed up, who are against corruption in the West Bank. These young men and women use new media to communicate about various forms and manifestations of corruption in the positions of power and government. The public’s sympathy grew with the activists as did their awareness on the importance of the demands they made. It is likely that any event that they will call for in the near future will have a massive public rally around it, like what happened in the movement to lift the sanctions on Gaza, where its suppression led to an increased audience. This resulted in one of the largest supportive marches in Ramallah. Throughout its long history, the PA does not learn from its mistakes, but rather repeats them.

The most dangerous developments are the recent security developments and killings that have occurred in several cities and towns, such as Nablus, Kufar Aqab, Bethlehem and others, which were associated with manifestations of lawlessness and rebellion, as was the case in Jenin. There were also other events that were documented by cameras, which became the majority of the peoples’ focus of attention. Moreover, recent events have demonstrated the decline of the PA’s ability to handle all internal affairs. The attempt to resolve the COVID-19 pandemic has led to more complications and economic, social and security collapses. These all have a common factor: rivalry and political competition, where different trade unions and mass sectors will be drawn to them in the coming weeks under specific demands and calls. In fact, it is the creation of conflicts in a political struggle that is known to everyone and yet not publicized at the same time, accompanied by organized media campaigns and represented by unknown users of social media accounts unidentified pages that seek to morally assassinate the Palestinian political figures, especially the leaders of the Fatah Movement.

The existing situation is catastrophic and will lead to more destruction, devastation and poverty, not only from external interference, but also from the hands of Palestinians themselves. As long as succession does not depend on the results from a democratic process, it has no choice but to rely on the legitimacy of regional and international support. The strange thing is that this support results in a balance of power. There is not any successor to a candidate who has more power than his competitor. The situation is similar to strong and qualified players, where one is likely to kick in this round, and the other in the next. The result is that both are strong and weak at the same time, as no one is able to settle the game in his/her favor. Therefore, the game will not end and the conflict and the dispute will remain in control of the situation. However, what the players do not see is that there is no longer a stadium to play in, where the competing player, known as the Authority, is dismantled. It no longer lays golden eggs, but rather it came closer to becoming an old chicken, in which its cluster of eggs has dried up. Taking more than is given has left the people standing on the crater of a volcano that would burn green and dry land. This volcano is in a sea of earthquakes created by the Israeli occupying forces.

Are we aware of what we have reached? There is no solution to any of these affairs, except to hold elections, which brought us to the brink of the abyss in the foreseeable future. Although its path is not guaranteed, it may be the best way to convince everyone, as it is the only way that can change the rules of the game if we unanimously agree on it. However, if we do not agree and choose it, then we have no choice but to tell God one day that we have gone astray and chose the path of our own destruction.

The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the opinion of the Association or donor.

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