When the historic "Gaza and Jericho" first agreement was signed in September 1993 at the White House in Washington, D. C., in the presence of Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Arafat, Israeli Prime Minister Rabin and President Clinton, uproar and discontent were exhibited by all radical groups, Israeli and Palestinian. The main objections that were raised were religiously articulated, i.e., the giving up of greater Israel or the promised land or Palestine, the eternally and religiously endowed land. Of course, the first Islamic groups to object were the Islamist movements such as Hamas and al-Jihad al-Islami. With this agreement, the PLO found itself in the odd position of being a voice of "moderation" in the Middle East. Arafat also attacked Palestinian Islamic movements and accused Israel of strengthening them with the aim of having them compete with the PLO. (Usher 1994) In the decade since, Arafat has died, the post 9/11 "war on terror" dominates the world scene, the US is in Iraq and is attracting terror elements from all over the world, Spain and England have faced terror attacks, and the PLO has been eclipsed by the Islamicist Hamas.
[...] Frum and Perle (2004) provide a threat profile--one clearly evident in the proclamations of the Bush administration as well--that takes the shocking attack on the morning of September 11 by a small and relatively weak organization and transforms it into an order-shaping event that represents the opening of a titanic long-term global struggle. This interpretation is an unquestioned article of faith among those who embrace the policies pursued by the Bush administration since September 11 and particularly among those who were ardent supporters of the war in Iraq. [...]
[...] It is thus unlikely to move, as a whole, to the right of Hamas, and to fully embrace the anti-Israeli violence it was known for prior to the Oslo accords and the peace process. As a national liberation movement, the PLO is the pallbearer of a dead ideology. Given the minimal threat of a post-9/11, post-Hamas, post-Arafat PLO, is there as a risk that what's left of the PLO threat can be carried out? Certainly, especially now that we are in the throes of a "war on terror" that smacks of the last great ideological struggle, the Cold War. [...]
[...] The aim the PLO was, historically, the destruction of Zionism and the constitution of former Mandate Palestine as an Arab state, eventually to be included, it makes clear, within a future "Arab Unity" this last an artifact of the PLO's creation by the now moribund pan-Arabist and Nasser-influenced Arab League. Thus the founding document of modern, organized Palestinian nationalism is a definitive statement of the "one-state solution." Two generations of Palestinians have accepted the one-state ideology, and Araft's signing of the peace process was seen as a betrayal of the same. [...]
[...] The "success" of managing a quasi-state has led to the defanging of this organization. The major threats are now Islamicist and internationalist in their approach, as opposed to pan-Arabist and nationalist. The threat of the PLO is now minimal, and the risk of attempting something radical in order to regain prominence as opposed to playing "good cop" for the leading powers is only slightly higher. WORKS CITED Aronson, G. (2000) "Settlement Monitor." Journal of Palestine Studies. 22(3):130-134. Bar-Tal, D., & Bennink, G. [...]
[...] The question is, does the PLO still serve as a significant threat after being eclipsed by Hamas, politically and militarily? According to Kissinger (2006): The emergence of Hamas as the dominant faction in Palestine should not be treated as a radical departure. Hamas represents the mind-set that prevented the full recognition of Israel's legitimacy by the PLO for all these decades, kept Yasser Arafat from accepting partition of Palestine at Camp David in 2000, produced two intifadas and consistently supported terrorism. [...]
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