The peace process has always required two hands — sometimes three — clapping. And while there is a Palestinian partner (maybe even two with Fatah and Hamas), like the Israelis, the Palestinians are a very complex lot.
The Palestinian national movement today is in profound crisis. As I’ve written before, it’s like Noah’s Ark — there are two of everything: prime ministers, security services, constitutions, foreign patrons, geographic polities, and visions of where and what Palestine is. And these divisions aren’t going away. If anything, they’re hardening.
Want to blame Palestinian dysfunction on the Israeli occupation? Go ahead, if it makes you feel better. But it won’t change the harsh reality that without Palestinian unity that produces one authority and one negotiating position, there won’t be a serious dialogue, let alone a Palestinian state.
And Palestinians themselves have to face the inconvenient truth that a state’s viability lies in its capacity to maintain a monopoly over violence in its own society. Without it, frankly, no state can maintain the respect of its neighbors or its own citizens. Are we going to blaming Fatah’ s dysfunction and Hamas’s viability on Bibi too?