The Dynamics of Palestinian Elite Formation

VOL. 24


No. 3
P. 31
The Dynamics of Palestinian Elite Formation

The signing of the Oslo Accord between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in September 1993 generated important questions regarding political inclusion and the dynamics of elite formation. With the Cairo Agreement of May 1994, Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and Jericho, and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA), these questions have become even sharper. Who occupies what positions of authority in the emerging PA? To what extent will political elites be held accountable, whether through the democratic process (the Cairo Agreement's provisions for an elected Palestinian legislature) or through the mediation of other actors and institutions (a free press, the office of a Palestinian ombudsman, and a watchful and vibrant Palestinian civil society)? How are elite cleavages likely to affect the institutionalization, administrative development, and policy choices of the PA?

Rex Brynen is associate professor of political science at McGill University, Montreal. The author wishes to thank the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Fonds FCAR, McGill University, and the Inter-University Consortium for Arab Studies (Montreal) for support in the research and writing of this article, portions of which will appear in Louis Cantori, ed., The Politics of Inclusion and Exclusion (Boulder: Westview Press, forthcoming.