The Palestinian people began the New Year facing a bleak political situation, with a weak and compromised leadership, a geographically and administratively fragmented people, and a civil society increasingly marked by individualism and loss of political anchor. The state-building project that promised so much in the 1980s and 1990s is fast losing adherents – a recent poll revealed that nearly two-thirds of Palestinians no longer believe it is practical even though 137 countries now recognize Palestine. Yet little has emerged by way of an alternative political goal that enjoys popular support.
This commentary argues that the current political weakness of the Palestinian people derives in large part from the absence of strategic thinking, despite some organized efforts in this regard including by the Palestine Strategy Group and Masarat, for example. Yet it is vital that Palestinians strategize with or without the political factions within and outside the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO): Without a clear and agreed strategy, some of the tools and tactics being adopted risk draining energies and proving ineffective or producing unwanted results.