We live in an age where we have more instantaneous news than we need, from the Internet to the tube; our cell phones to our radios and yes, the struggling print papers which sharpen our skills and understanding.
We are wired, but we are not informed: contextually or globally, especially, but not limited to the
It wasn’t the lack of traffic lights or police presence on the streets of Ramallah that signaled the root of the problem facing the Palestinian people. It was the darkened Justice Ministry – symbolic of a non-functioning government that brought the lack of perspective Americans have that day en route to the Palestinian Authorities headquarters, the Muqata.
To put things into simple context following the death of Yassir Arafat:
Mahmoud ‘Abbas was elected to succeed Arafat, this with
Internecine warfare began and grew under the new regime until ‘Abbas issued a call for new elections – a power he insists inures to the presidency while Hamas rejects his reading. While calls for a unity government become more emphatic from voices within and outside of the P.A. itself, assassinations, kidnappings and street-fighting became increasingly commonplace. During this time, alternative avenues for funding the Palestinians sprung up. International donor nations channeled support directly to the office of ‘Abbas while Hamas ministers would leave the Palestinian Authority and return with millions of cash dollars in suitcases.
During a recent visit to the Muqata, anomalies between public statements of support and realities on the ground became apparent. One official speaking under assurances of anonymity, bitterly decried American claims that it is training thousands of Presidential Guard troops loyal to ‘Abbas in preparation for an armed showdown with Hamas. The source insisted while estimates of the force ranged from 20,000 to 40,000, there were no more than 400 fighters being trained at the time. Talk in the Muqata at the time was of an inevitable clash and Hamas victory.
Enter two summits of note:
But the outcome of
Critics of the administration argue that in order to effect change, priority must be given to understanding the needs of the people on the streets of the conflicted nations rather than inflicting the political assessments of policy-wonks thousands of miles away. It may not be what the administration wants to hear, but it might also lead to some more imaginative policy-making that has a chance of moving forward.
Felice Friedson is President and CEO of The Media Line News Agency, an American organization specializing in