FOR THE last nine years, the Israelis have argued that the peace process could not move forward because the Palestinian leadership was weak, governance was dysfunctional, and the capacity and willingness to deliver security were absent. Moreover, there was no clear honest broker willing to trade in peace. Now, all that may be about to change.
The Palestinian nationalist old guard has been democratically ousted from power; the day of the young guard has finally arrived. Fatah, the largest nationalist group, held its sixth party congress in August-the first such meeting in twenty years-and elected a new leadership. The new leadership is much stronger than the old one, made up of more powerful and more popular figures. They are younger. They are educated. They were born and raised in the Palestinian territories. They are determined to push for a more moderate Hamas and to work toward peace with Israel. Security and governance in the West Bank have never been better. The current Palestinian leadership enjoys full control over the security services, something that has not happened since the 1993 Oslo accords. This is no longer the fragmented, dysfunctional Palestinian Authority of old.