The PLO After arafat: Who Will Take Control?

Yasir arafat is 75 or 76 years old…and his health is not good. As far as effectiveness goes, I don’t think much of him. As far as I can see, the man is an autocrat, and blind to the massive corruption within his organization. There have been allegations that hundreds of millions of dollars have been siphoned off by his cronies. In addition:
-Arafat is personally corrupt
-he has not set up any succession plan
-the PLO “government” is now being opposed by the palestinians…witness the recent riots in Gaza
-he (Arafat) is not trusted by any Israeli politician; as he has broken every promise madein the past
I’m amazed that the guy is still in power…most Palestinian intellectuals don’t like him (or trust him). Now, as the Israelis have made clear their intention to wall off Israel, the possibility of a Palestinian state emerges…awill it be run by the corrupt Arafat? Is there anyone to succedd him? :confused:

I’ll be following the replies in this thread as I wonder about the same.

My take on it is that there are several who could succeed Arafat. Would that person emerge as The Leader and unite the Palestinians? I don’t know, but I doubt it. I see multiple conflicts:
[li]The role of the President: ceremonial or executive in charge. Arafat enjoys wide powers, but there are ongoing discussions about making the President’s role ceremonial, thereby transferring power to the Parliament. If that happens, it matters less who is President.[/li][li]The Fundamentalists vs The Moderates: Hamas has been very popular in recent years, would they be allowed to participate in a likely election and possibly seize power? Could they control the Parliament? Will Israel allow that?[/li][li]Gaza vs The West Bank. These two territories are not physically connected, and we may witness a stubborn self-governing Gaza (maybe aligning themselves with Egypt), while the PA continues as it has in the West Bank.[/li][/ul]
And I would like to nitpick the OP:

  • Arafat is still in high regard among many Palestinians. The core of the recent uproar in Gaza seems to be young Palestinians, kids who mainly grew up after Arafat came back and who don’t know how things were before that.
  • the PLO is not “the government”, it’s PA who is the government and PLO is represented in that government along with non-PLO people
  • While there have been talk about corruption, I have not seen any evidence yet that this is sanctioned by the PA, or even by Arafat personally. Can you point us to your cite for this claim (preferably documents, not people just voicing their opinions)?

Personally, I don’t see a sovereign Palestinian State in the near future, the route of the wall makes that hard to accomplish, and there are still hundreds of Israeli settlements deep inside Palestinian Territory

Factions, factions, factions.

And each faction led by a fanatic or a corrupt hustler.

Wanna bet? I need the dough. :slight_smile:

Fidel Castro!

Ralph, a few points:

  • I do not believe that Arafat is personally corrupt - it doesn’t really fit the guy’s MO. You’ll have to provide some kind of proof for this claim. However, that he turns a blind eye to corruption, especially that of his closer allies, cannot really be disputed. I recommend reading “Arafat: From Defender to Dictator” by Said Aburish for an interesting take on the matter by a disenchanted Palestinian.
  • He doesn’t have a succession plan because such a plan would weaken him by pointing to a clear alternative. An Arafat-approved alternative, no less.
  • The recent protests against Arafat and his cronies and the PA in general in the Gaza strip are not a huge shock. In the last 10 years, the PA and the secular groups which underpin it have lost huge amounts of support to the more religious groups, such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
  • Nevertheless, Arafat still enjoys a good deal of grass-roots support in the West Bank.
  • I don’t see how the wall being constructed by Israel makes it easier for a Palestinian state to emerge. By splitting the occupied territories apart, it makes it LESS feasible to establish a contiguous Palestinian state.
  • In response to the question in your OP, I believe that there will not be a new leader of the PA, or at least not one of importance. If Arafat dies, the PA will die with him, or at least lose huge amounts of ground.