The same grievances—corruption, lack of trust in governing elites, and the breakdown of basic services—that have been driving thousands into the streets of Lebanon and Iraq also apply in the West Bank and Gaza. Yet Palestinians have been unable or unwilling to harness people against their own leaders in a sustained way. What does the absence of such protests say about the Palestinians and their politics? And is it only a matter of time, as journalist Hani Masri recently predicted, until the next wave of the Arab Spring arrives in Palestine?
It’s the occupation, stupid!
As corrupt, inefficient, and dysfunctional as Palestinians believe their leaders to be, getting rid of them has never been their top priority. It is intriguing, though, that the first intifada in December 1987 was in fact a revolt against both the occupation and the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), then operating not in the West Bank and Gaza, but in exile. Indeed, the PLO had to play catch-up to try to regain control of events on the ground. Still, among both the elite and the general public, the primary focus has been ending the occupation, not bringing about the end of their own governing regimes. At least, not yet. Given Mahmoud Abbas’s increasing unpopularity, that state of affairs is no longer guaranteed. But to date, Palestinian independence has been the single most compelling factor driving Palestinian tactics and strategy.
Palestinians face a unique challenge. Not only do they want to build self-governing institutions and win statehood, they must manage this within the severe constraints of Israeli occupation. There are few, if any, precedents in modern history for a people negotiating its way out of this kind of situation and building state institutions, let alone successfully establishing a state.
Read more here at the source: Why No Arab Spring in Palestine? – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace