Democratization has long been a poor cousin to Arab-Israeli peacemaking and Gulf security in the list of U.S. policy priorities in the Middle East. Far too little attention ahs been devoted to the authoritarian state-in-the-making in the West Bank and Gaza and its implications for the sustainability of peace between Israelis and the Palestinians. The analytical questions at the heart oft he issue are: Would a democratic Palestinian Authority be better or worse for the peace process? And just how important is democracy to a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians?
In Palestinian Democracy and Governance, David Schenker provides an assessment by looking through the prism of the Palestinian Legislative Council, the legislative branch of government in the Palestinian Authority. The PLC, he argues, is the bellwether of democracy in the PA. This path-breaking study should not only provoke debate on a highly sensitive yet vitally important issue, but also prod American policymakers to consider new and creative ways to invest in the long-term potential for democratization in the Palestinian Authority.