Palestine continues to face serious challenges in building functioning democracy, the most obvious being Israeli occupation and expansion of settlements, which prevent Palestinians from building a normal life.
Palestinians continue to struggle for self-determination and a just solution to the conflict with a two-state solution including an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders and having East Jerusalem as its capital. The Palestinian Authority, which governs the West bank, is marred by political stalemate and control over internal Palestinian affairs remains heavily constrained by the Israeli authorities. Especially in the Gaza strip, ruled by Hamas since 2007, the relationship with Israel has been characterized by tension and recurring violence from both sides. Gaza is at present exposed to a siege from Israel as well as Egypt.
Palestinians depend on international aid and in the West Bank and especially in Gaza the economy remains in tatters. Because of this, one of the main challenges faced by the political parties in Palestine is improving the economic situation, which continues to be highly contingent upon Palestine’s relationship to Israel.
In the West Bank, some aspects of the life of Palestinians, such as the educational and healthcare systems, function more or less the way they have done for decades. But political life in Palestine continues to be marred by the stagnation of its political institutions.
Palestine thus continues to face great external and internal challenges in terms of achieving democracy, but various political forces persist in trying to promote democratization through institutional reform as well as the enhancement of democratic culture.
Few of the many political parties present in Palestine have hitherto been able to provide a viable alternative to the two traditionally dominant movements, the Palestinian Liberation Movement (known as Fatah) and the Islamic Resistance Movement (known as Hamas).
The Palestinian National Authority was run by Fatah, a faction within the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), until the 2006 elections in which Hamas managed to win a majority in the Legislative Council. Initially this resulted in a Hamas-led cabinet co-existing with president Mahmoud Abbas from Fatah. In mid-2007, following a violent conflict between Hamas militants and Israel in and around the Gaza strip, Hamas seized power in Gaza.
Since then, the Gaza strip and the West Bank have been governed as more or less separate entities by Hamas and Fatah respectively and antagonism between the two movements has continued.
In late 2012, the UN general assembly passed a resolution upgrading the status of Palestine to “non-member observer state”. The Palestinian bid for statehood was seen by some observers as a symbolic measure, in the eyes of some an implicit recognition of Palestinian sovereignty.
Since August 2013, renewed peace talks have been taking place between Palestine and Israel.
DIPD in Palestine
Through DIPD, the Danish Red-Green Alliance (RGA) has an active partnership project in Palestine with three leftwing political parties, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), the Palestinian People’s Party (PPP), and Palestinian Democratic Union (FIDA). The Swedish VIF (International Forum of the Left) also participates in the partnership project.
The project aims at developing relations as well as strengthening cooperation between the three Palestinian parties by increasing cooperation between the between the youth and women of the parties. To complement this goal, the partnership also seeks to further the position of the young men and women in the parties, and on the overall level the partnership seeks to promote democracy in the political sphere as well as in Palestinian society at large.
Mathias Parsbæk Skibdal, Project Coordinator at DIPD: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inger V. Johansen, Project Coordinator at RGA: email@example.com
Visit the website of the Red-Green Alliance