Palestinian communities in exile were more vocal in their outrage. Voices now openly challenge the Ramallah-based leadership's claim to representation, as in the recent petitions organized by Palestinian American and Canadian groups. While these statements may be longer on rhetoric than actual ability to change the situation on the ground, they do erode a self-imposed Palestinian barrier to public criticism that has been in place, with few exceptions, since the first Oslo Accord in 1993. Even more significant is the simple, powerful statement by the General Union of Palestinian Students launching a campaign for direct elections to the Palestinian National Council in order to restore the Palestine Liberation Organization as the sole legitimate representative of Palestinian people, wherever they may be.
Nadia Hijab is co-director of Al-Shabaka, The Palestinian Policy Network