Leech, Philip. “Who Owns ‘The Spring’ in Palestine? Rethinking Popular Consent and Resistance in the Context of the ‘Palestinian State’ and the ‘Arab Spring’.” Democratization, published online April 29, 2014.
The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) claim to embody the spirit of the “Arab Spring”, through its recent “state-building” agenda – including its elevation to “non-member observer status” at the United Nations – is disingenuous. This conclusion rests on three key arguments outlined in this article. First, this article identifies a continuation of broader patterns of authoritarianism represented by the PA’s lack of adherence to democratic practices, the deprivation of access for the Palestinian population to basic resources and the wider issue of the continued absence of Palestinian sovereignty. Second, it identifies the intensification of some authoritarian practices within Palestine, particularly in the areas of security and policing, for example by the use of force against protestors. Finally, this article identifies that civil-society groups and opposition supporters throughout 2011–2012 have more genuinely embodied evidence of resistance to authoritarianism in popular demonstrations against the PA.