None has emerged as viable, though because the United States has not provided the kind of critical support as it did to anti-communist groups in the former Soviet Bloc or to reformers across the unfree world.
The Palestinian Authority has attempted to head off its own protests by scheduling municipal elections, but this could make things worse. Balloting alone - even in “free and fair” elections - does not equal true democracy. Hamas carried off a blood-soaked coup against fairly elected Fatah members in Gaza after the free and fair 2006 election.
As the inherently slow process of developing political alternatives unfolds, the United States could instill immediate confidence by insisting on transparency and accountability in the hundreds of millions the Palestinian Authority receives.
Less obvious but no less important is that the United States must use its considerable leverage to remove the Islamic indoctrination and incitement against Israel that has made Palestinians more excited about terrorism than peace. Conditioning aid to the PA on ending incitement would be a great place to start.
Part of preparing for a free society is also changing the discourse away from poisonous rhetoric. A society consumed with hatred of its neighbor might be distracted from the misdeeds of its leaders, but its people are still angry. That’s hardly a recipe for long-term success.
Simply creating a Palestinian state won’t do much and might make matters worse. Fixing the Palestinian society and signaling that the United States is serious about creating a truly free society, however, could substantially boost the Jordanian government and prevent unrest in the West Bank.
The question is whether or not President Obama will play it “safe” - or actually try to make us safer.
Joel Mowbray is an adjunct fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
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