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Are the Palestinians Ready for Independence?

By: Omar Shaban

 The current Palestinian leadership does not appear ready for sudden independence. Despite the push for Palestinian statehood, there remains weaknesses in the Palestinian political establishment that undermine this quest. Political and social fragmentation, a lack of representative leadership and an inability to apply the rule of law seem to indicate that if Palestine were to become an independent state tomorrow, it would falter.

The Israeli occupation has been and remains the primary obstacle hindering Palestinian political and developmental ambitions. Ending the Israeli occupation is clearly requisite to establishing a free and democratic Palestinian state, however, the level of readiness for independence does not depend solely on removing the occupation’s structural obstacles. There are several internal developments that must be addressed as well. The current social and political environments are volatile and unsuitable as a framework for independent governance. The current state of readiness is so poor that emancipation could prove worse than the occupation itself. The experiences of both Libya and Syria prove that successful self-governance movements require strong institutions that can facilitate difficult political transitions. The Palestinian leadership must address these internal weaknesses to provide for a smooth transition.

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