The P.A.’s employees have launched an open-ended strike — practically rendering the Hamas government dysfunctional. Palestinians are demanding that Hamas compromise to allow international aid into the financially starved West Bank and Gaza.
Note carefully that it’s not a call for any sort of internal development or economic improvement, but all about restarting the external cash flow. It’s another clear example of the thesis I developed in this post. Like petro-dollars, as long as the Palestinians think they can depend on the largess of strangers instead of improving themselves, they will be dysfunctional and unable to support any sort of normal society or government.
Note also that despite all this, Hamas refuses to make even token concessions or stop its war with Israel. The putative “unity government” isn’t an action designed to reconnect Hamas with the people, but a mechanism to shut down democratic accountability by creating what would basically be a one party state.
This is all quite contrary to a certain webloggers view of the natural democrats who are leading Hamas. The key point is that the pressure on Hamas to reform is ultimately external. All the internal pressure would disappear overnight should the previous level of foreign aid be resumed. Those who make the argument that the reason Iraqis and Palestinians haven’t reformed like Japan and Germany is because they have not been ground in to the dust as those nations were can certainly point to this sequence of events as evidence for that argument. If Hizb’allah suffers a major drop in support over the next year, that would be yet another confirming data point. It’s a sad thing to contend, but it’s getting harder to argue against it.