Constantly Dangled, Endlessly Receding: Ghada Karmi on Palestinian rights

Ghada Karmi in the London Review of Books:

In 2005 I was working for the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. Twelve years had passed since the 1993 Oslo Accords. The PA had been set up the following year to administer civil life in Gaza and in some parts of the West Bank, designated ‘Area A’ under the Accords. This was supposed to be a temporary arrangement, lasting five years: by 1999, all outstanding issues between the two sides were expected to be resolved. Many Palestinians couldn’t help seeing the Oslo Accords as a step towards the creation of their own state. I remember the hope, even jubilation, among so many that a resolution to the conflict was finally in sight. Investment flowed in from wealthy Palestinians abroad, and the PA behaved like a government in waiting. Yasir Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, became president and a full cabinet of ministers was appointed, as if the Palestinian state were already in existence.

By 2005 these hopes had been dashed and disillusionment was setting in. I was appointed as a consultant to the Ministry of Information, a hollow position if ever there was one. I soon discovered I had no power to change anything or influence any decision. The reason was simple: the ministry itself had no power, and neither did the PA. Supposedly in charge of civil matters, it answered to Israel in every respect.

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