Is the PA afraid of third intifada?

Amira Hass in Haaretz:

But handing out jobs in the security apparatus to thousands of young people without any educational or professional future, the solution the PA came up with in the 1990s and one to which they are clinging to today, does not really wipe out cumulative sociopolitical resentments, especially in the refugee camps. The economic gaps are now more apparent than ever, even when released prisoners are getting entitlements that are higher than ever.

The authority carried out a wave of arrests in May (which included Mu'ayyed and Zakaria ) and turned yesterday's heroes into today's criminal problem. At the same time it was glorifying the Palestinian prisoners who were on a hunger strike in Israeli prisons. Many of them are not only relatives and friends of those recently arrested by the Palestinian Authority, but like them, they too turned the gun, the symbol of machismo, into both capital and cult.

Thus the leadership of the PA is again sending out mixed messages and broadcasting dishonesty. The brutality of the arrests, no matter what the suspicions, shows that the PA is afraid of the social resentments, and as a preventive measure, is suppressing anyone it thinks may be a potential representative or leader. Or, as Alia Amer, the mother of Ziad and Mu'ayyed, says, "All the talk on TV [against the detainees] is meant to justify the positions of senior authority personnel."

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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.