The Palestinian political field, dominated by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) since the late 1960s, has been in a state of disintegration since the Palestinian Authority (PA) was established under the Oslo Accords. What has been the impact of PLO dominance and what were the repercussions of its disintegration for the Palestinian body politic? And to what extent has the disintegration of the political field affected the cultural field and its contribution to Palestinian national identity? These are the questions addressed in this commentary.
PLO dominance of Palestinian political field began after the battle of Al-Karameh in 1968, which enabled it to establish a centralized relationship with the Palestinian communities in historic Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the Gulf, Europe and the Americas. These communities largely accepted the PLO as their sole legitimate representative despite the external influences upon it, including its heavy reliance on foreign aid, the ups and downs of its relationship with the country of residence, and its regional and international relations. As a result, the unique conditions and features of each community were neglected, as were their national, social and organizational responsibilities.