The Palestinian National Movement

The Palestinian National Movement

Politics of Contention, 1967-2005
Jamal, Amal
Distribution: World
Publication date: 06/08/2005
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-21773-8
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A comprehensive, up-to-date account of the dynamics in the Palestinian political arena." —Ann M. Lesch, Villanova University

This innovative study examines the internal dynamics of the Palestinian political elite and their impact on the struggle to establish a Palestinian state. The PLO leadership has sought to prevent the rise of any alternative in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that can challenge its authority to represent Palestinian aspirations for self-determination. Drawing on Palestinian sources and interviews with Palestinian political leaders, Jamal argues that the Fatah leadership has attempted to mobilize new social forces—local secular-nationalist and Islamist movements—while undermining their ability to develop independent power structures. This policy has served to radicalize the younger local elites, contributing to the tensions that precipitated the first and second intifadas. Israel’s policies have undermined the legitimacy of the national elite, while enhancing the Islamist opposition’s ideological legitimacy. In this way, internal elite disunity and growing political differentiation have worked against development of a common Palestinian strategy of state-building.

Author Bio

Amal Jamal is Lecturer in Political Science at Tel Aviv University.


Amal Jamal’s Palestinian National Movement is a very good introductionto the modern history of a very important actor in the Middle East. For thosewho have never studied the topic in any detail, it will do a very good job ofhelping to explain the goals of the Palestinian people and the strategy of thevarious parts of the Palestinian leadership over the years.

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Table of Contents

1. The Structural and Historical Context
2. From Dissension to Coordination: The PLO Leadership and the National Elite in the Occupied Territories
3. Mobilization under Control: The Political Economy of Steadfastness
4. Engineering Compliance: New Modes of Political Entrepreneurship and the Co-optation of Contenders
5. Seizing Structural Opportunities: The Islamist Elite and the Framing of Authenticity Discourse
6. The Politics of Symbolic Capital and the Institutionalization of Neopatrimonial Power
7. The Second Intifada and Its Impact on Elite Structures