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New Left Review 14, March-April 2002

Social tensions explode on the main streets of Arafat’s seat of power as the Palestinian Authority elite turns its back on the deprivations of the refugees. The pressure-cooker of the West Bank under Israeli terror.



On January 29th this year a roadside brawl between a butcher from Ramallah and two youths from the nearby refugee camp of Kalandia degenerated into a brief torrent of violence. What began with a murder ended in two days of ostensibly sectarian thuggery—the butcher happened to be Christian and the youths Muslim. The real significance of the affair, however, is the way it has thrown into sharp relief both the growing socio-economic faultlines within this embattled society and the tenuous nature of the authority that Arafat’s government wields, even in its seat of power.

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Peter Lagerquist, ‘Ramallah Days’, NLR 14: £3

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