Transformation Of Palestinian Politics / Edition 1

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Overview

This book is a comprehensive overview and analysis of the Palestinians' travail as they move from revolutionary movement to state. Barry Rubin outlines the difficulties in the transition now under way arising from Palestinian history, society, and diplomatic agreements. He writes about the search for a national identity, the choice of an economic system, and the structure of government.

Rubin finds the political system interestingly distinctive--it appears to be a pluralist dictatorship. There are free elections, multiple parties, and some latitude in civil liberties. Yet there is a relatively unrestrained chief executive and arbitrariness in applying the law because of restraints on freedom. The new ruling elite is a complex mixture of veteran revolutionaries, heirs to large and wealthy families, professional soldiers, technocrats, and Islamic clerics.

Beyond explaining how the executive and legislative branches work, Rubin factors in the role of public opinion in the peace process, the place of nongovernmental institutions, opposition movements, and the Palestinian Authority's foreign relations--including Palestinian views and interactions with the Arab world, Israel, and the United States.

This book is drawn from documents in Arabic, Hebrew, and English, as well as interviews and direct observations. Rubin finds that, overall, the positive aspects of the Palestinian Authority outweigh the negative, and he foresees the establishment of a Palestinian state. His charting of the triumphs and difficulties of this state-in-the-making helps predict and explain future dramatic developments in the Middle East.

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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post Book World

Barry Rubin's timely Transformation of Palestinian Politics provides a superb and weighty account of the complexities of the Palestinian problem and the significant impediments to state-building...As deputy director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Rubin is well acquainted with Palestinian political life, having written several notable books on the subject. In his most recent effort, he carefully delineates the path of transition or pre-statehood for the current PA—complete will all its bumps and turns...Rubin covers in rich and penetrating detail the deleterious effects of the fledgling Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) on the Arafat-led government-in-training, the rising expectations of a long-suffering and dispossessed people and the controversial issues of democratic development and respect for human rights.
— Peter McKenna

Canadian Jewish News

Barry Rubin, deputy director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, is a keen observer of the Middle East. The Transformation of Palestinain Politics is a cogent analysis of the challenges facing the Palestinian Authority today.
— Sheldon Kirshner

Washington Times

[A]n objective, even sympathetic, account of Palestinian politics since 1993.
— Sol Schindler

Boston Book Review

In this judicious and thoughtful book, Rubin describes the Palestinian's slow walk towards statehood, one riddled with contradictions and burdened by deep-seated historical animosities. Analyzing both the Palestinians' noticeable failures and surprising successes, Rubin offers a prognosis for the future with the measured optimism of someone who has watched the conflict unfold from up-close for some time.
— Kate Cambor

Globe and Mail

In his excellent The Transformation of Palestinian Politics, Rubin wants critics of Yassar Arafat and the Palestinian Authority to temper their disparaging comments with a hefty dose of reality: Specifically, he says, there will be no Palestinian state without a peace agreement with Israel and a solid institutional foundation...Rubin is well qualified to chronicle the path of transition or pre-statehood, with its unpredictable twists and turns. By specifically homing in on the transitional, or embryonic phase, Rubin seeks to situate legitimate criticisms of the 1993-95 Oslo Accords within the context of incredibly complex and difficult growing pains for an essentially interim government.
— Peter McKenna

Middle East Quarterly

Excellent. Rubin has taken up a subject that is seemingly familiar (Palestinians feature almost daily in the news) but is in fact unknown (how the Palestinian Authority actually operates). There is nothing remotely comparable to this book in English. He writes about obscure but vital aspects of the Palestinian Authority with a sure hand. The greatest strength of the book lies in its providing new information in a clear context. Rubin's sources are excellent, his judgment reliable. The writing style is solid. The study significantly advances knowledge about its subject matter.
— Daniel Pipes

Foreign Affairs

Rubin...manages a balanced presentation of all the many different players in this ongoing Palestinian drama—Yasir Arafat, the PLO, Hamas, the many Israeli political groupings, the Arab states, the United States, and the international community. With nine detailed but succinct chapters, this book is an eminently readable achievement.
— L. Carl Brown

Washington Post Book World - Peter McKenna
In his excellent The Transformation of Palestinian Politics, Rubin wants critics of Yassar Arafat and the Palestinian Authority to temper their disparaging comments with a hefty dose of reality: Specifically, he says, there will be no Palestinian state without a peace agreement with Israel and a solid institutional foundation...Rubin is well qualified to chronicle the path of transition or pre-statehood, with its unpredictable twists and turns. By specifically homing in on the transitional, or embryonic phase, Rubin seeks to situate legitimate criticisms of the 1993-95 Oslo Accords within the context of incredibly complex and difficult growing pains for an essentially interim government.
Canadian Jewish News - Sheldon Kirshner
Barry Rubin, deputy director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, is a keen observer of the Middle East. The Transformation of Palestinain Politics is a cogent analysis of the challenges facing the Palestinian Authority today.
Washington Times - Sol Schindler
[A]n objective, even sympathetic, account of Palestinian politics since 1993.
Boston Book Review - Kate Cambor
In this judicious and thoughtful book, Rubin describes the Palestinian's slow walk towards statehood, one riddled with contradictions and burdened by deep-seated historical animosities. Analyzing both the Palestinians' noticeable failures and surprising successes, Rubin offers a prognosis for the future with the measured optimism of someone who has watched the conflict unfold from up-close for some time.
Mark A. Heller
Rubin is the first to take a detailed and systematic look at the issues--not surprising given that the subject did not exist before 1994--and therein lies the main contribution of the book. He provides an interesting overview of what will undoubtedly be a subject of continuing investigation over the years. The book should be of considerable interest to students of Middle Eastern, and especially Palestinian and Israeli-Palestinian politics. Rubin presents a balanced (even sympathetic) account of the challenges facing the Palestinian Authority, shows how relatively stable post-revolutionary institutions have already been built, and concludes with a sanguine view of the prospects for successful state-building in the future. The book is argued in a fairly persuasive fashion, the organization is logical, the scholarship is sound (no polemics or distortion of evidence), and the conclusions are judicious.
Walter Laqueur
[A] fair treatment of the subject, the transformation of the PLO from a military-political organization to the force behind the establishment of a Palestinian state. Rubin is well informed, and the book is based on a wide selection of Arabic language sources, as well as Israeli and English language.
Middle East Quarterly - Daniel Pipes
Excellent. Rubin has taken up a subject that is seemingly familiar (Palestinians feature almost daily in the news) but is in fact unknown (how the Palestinian Authority actually operates). There is nothing remotely comparable to this book in English. He writes about obscure but vital aspects of the Palestinian Authority with a sure hand. The greatest strength of the book lies in its providing new information in a clear context. Rubin's sources are excellent, his judgment reliable. The writing style is solid. The study significantly advances knowledge about its subject matter.
Foreign Affairs - L. Carl Brown
Rubin...manages a balanced presentation of all the many different players in this ongoing Palestinian drama--Yasir Arafat, the PLO, Hamas, the many Israeli political groupings, the Arab states, the United States, and the international community. With nine detailed but succinct chapters, this book is an eminently readable achievement.
Foreign Affairs
Rubin...manages a balanced presentation of all the many different players in this ongoing Palestinian drama--Yasir Arafat, the PLO, Hamas, the many Israeli political groupings, the Arab states, the United States, and the international community. With nine detailed but succinct chapters, this book is an eminently readable achievement.
— L. Carl Brown
Middle East Quarterly
Excellent. Rubin has taken up a subject that is seemingly familiar (Palestinians feature almost daily in the news) but is in fact unknown (how the Palestinian Authority actually operates). There is nothing remotely comparable to this book in English. He writes about obscure but vital aspects of the Palestinian Authority with a sure hand. The greatest strength of the book lies in its providing new information in a clear context. Rubin's sources are excellent, his judgment reliable. The writing style is solid. The study significantly advances knowledge about its subject matter.
— Daniel Pipes
Washington Times
[A]n objective, even sympathetic, account of Palestinian politics since 1993.
— Sol Schindler
Globe and Mail
In his excellent The Transformation of Palestinian Politics, Rubin wants critics of Yassar Arafat and the Palestinian Authority to temper their disparaging comments with a hefty dose of reality: Specifically, he says, there will be no Palestinian state without a peace agreement with Israel and a solid institutional foundation...Rubin is well qualified to chronicle the path of transition or pre-statehood, with its unpredictable twists and turns. By specifically homing in on the transitional, or embryonic phase, Rubin seeks to situate legitimate criticisms of the 1993-95 Oslo Accords within the context of incredibly complex and difficult growing pains for an essentially interim government.
— Peter McKenna
Boston Book Review
In this judicious and thoughtful book, Rubin describes the Palestinian's slow walk towards statehood, one riddled with contradictions and burdened by deep-seated historical animosities. Analyzing both the Palestinians' noticeable failures and surprising successes, Rubin offers a prognosis for the future with the measured optimism of someone who has watched the conflict unfold from up-close for some time.
— Kate Cambor
Washington Post Book World
Barry Rubin's timely Transformation of Palestinian Politics provides a superb and weighty account of the complexities of the Palestinian problem and the significant impediments to state-building...As deputy director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Rubin is well acquainted with Palestinian political life, having written several notable books on the subject. In his most recent effort, he carefully delineates the path of transition or pre-statehood for the current PA--complete will all its bumps and turns...Rubin covers in rich and penetrating detail the deleterious effects of the fledgling Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) on the Arafat-led government-in-training, the rising expectations of a long-suffering and dispossessed people and the controversial issues of democratic development and respect for human rights.
— Peter McKenna
Canadian Jewish News
Barry Rubin, deputy director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, is a keen observer of the Middle East. The Transformation of Palestinain Politics is a cogent analysis of the challenges facing the Palestinian Authority today.
— Sheldon Kirshner
Daniel Pipes
Excellent...There is nothing remotely comparable to this book in English...The study significantly advances knowledge about its subject matter.
Middle East Quarterly
Peter McKenna
Rubin is well qualified to chronicle the path of transition or pre-statehood, with its unpredictable twists and turns.
Globe and Mail [Toronto]
Sol Schindler
[A]n objective, even sympathetic, account of Palestinian politics since 1993.
Washington Times
Kate Cambor
Rubin offers a prognosis...with the measured optimism of someone who has watched the conflict unfold from up-close...
Boston Book Review
Sheldon Kirshner
The Transformation of Palestinian Politics is a cogent analysis of the challenges facing the Palestinian Authority today.
Canadian Jewish News
Library Journal
In this highly readable book, Rubin, deputy director of Israel's Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and the author of numerous works on the Arab-Israeli conflict, examines the prospect of Palestinian statehood. The book focuses on post-1993 Palestinian politics and the internal and external challenges that have faced the Palestinian Authority in the aftermath of the Oslo agreement. Drawing on an impressive array of English, Hebrew, and Arabic sources, the author explores a complicated maze of interactions between Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority and its internal opponents. Crucially, the book also places the Palestinian Authority's struggle in the context of Israeli and regional politics. Because of the heavy focus on current events, readers not familiar with the history of the conflict will need other sources to place post-1993 Palestinian politics into context. Recommended for academic libraries and students of the Arab-Israeli conflict.--Nader Entessar, Spring Hill Coll., Mobile, AL Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674007178
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 11/30/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 260
  • Product dimensions: 0.59 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Barry Rubin is Deputy Director, Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, and Executive Editor, Middle East Review of International Affairs.
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Table of Contents

Preface

The Rulers, the Ruled, and the Rules

The Palestinian Legislative Council

Democracy, Stability, and Human Rights

The Polity and the People

The New Palestinian Political Elite

The Palestinian Opposition

The Palestinian Authority and the Middle East

Thinking about Israel and the United States

Recognizing Facts, Creating Facts

Appendixes:

Palestinian Authority Cabinets, 1994-1998

Membership of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC)

The Fatah Central Committee

The PLO Executive Committee (EC)

Middle East States and the Palestinian Authority

Notes

Glossary

Bibliography

Index

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