Sa'id Ghazali: The Palestinian Authority is a donkey with a load too heavy to bear

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The Independent Online

This new fashion of kidnapping in Gaza is just a symptom of the combination of economic failure, rotten politics, and international hypocrisy.

But the Palestinian people are not the only ones to blame. The Palestinian Authority, the extremists of the intifada, Israeli counter-measures and the international community have all played a role in this disaster.

We have just survived seven years of corruption and political failure, and five years of violence and closure.

Israel has withdrawn from the Gaza Strip, but the people of Gaza are still living in dire conditions. It is a prison. There is no rule of law in the occupied territories. There is continuing starvation, there are no factories, no exports, no Palestinian currency, no freedom of movement, and no political hope.

We need to have jobs, so we can put food on the table for our children. That's all. The question is how to do it.

You cannot do it with a security rifle aimed at the heads of the people. You cannot do it by good offices of thieves. You cannot do it by closure, or by a buffer zone, or by building walls, or even by bad political deals.

The Palestinian Authority is like a donkey, carrying a double load which is too heavy for it to bear: security and the economy.

The PA cannot disarm the many militias, the military wings and the clan fighters. Nor is it able to separate the economy from all kinds of corruption that have plagued Palestinian society as projects are tailored with the views of the donor countries in mind and not according to our people's needs.

The donkey cannot move on.

We are tired and we are confused. And people without hope become like beasts. Since the border with Egypt was reopened after the Israeli pullout from Gaza, the price of a bullet has dropped threefold, to 12 shekels (£1.50). More than 218 Palestinians have been killed in family feuds as the intifada consumes its own people.

How can anyone expect the Palestinians to build prosperous lives for themselves in these conditions, by sacrificing their basic human needs? When you build your home on sand, you have to expect it to collapse any moment.