Final paragraph, Nathan Thrall's Whose Palestine? (New York Review of Books)
The larger question is how long the West Bank status quo will last. No successful national liberation movement has depended so heavily—in the realms of finance, security, diplomacy, and mediation—on the closest ally of its occupier. US funding to the Palestinians is an obstacle to, or excuse for refraining from, just about every means of leverage against Israel that Palestinians might employ. For the Ramallah leadership, maintaining strong ties with the US means it cannot encourage popular protests in the West Bank, cannot limit cooperation on security when Israel invades areas ostensibly under Palestinian Authority control, cannot attempt to join a number of UN agencies and international institutions, cannot grant political freedoms to non-militants in Hamas, cannot meaningfully share power with Hamas in the PLO, and, not least, cannot allow real democracy in Palestine. Hamas argues that US financial and security assistance—together averaging roughly $300 million annually—should be replaced by funding from Qatar, among others, because the costs of US dependency are simply too great. The Islamist movement came to power in 2006 because of President George W. Bush’s program of democracy promotion; in the years since Hamas’s victory, US policy toward Palestinians has shifted to democracy prevention. But what the US approach seeks above all else to achieve—a final settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—is unlikely to be won with leaders who lack a popular mandate.