This project seeks to answer the crucial question of what Hamas's and Islamic Jihad's possible membership in PLO would mean for Palestinian politics and strategy.
As the PLO is international recognized as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, supreme to the PA, having the Islamists included amounts to a paradigmatic change in internal Palestinian politics. This project explores two main issues:
- How may being included in the PLO change Hamas and Jihad? PLO has recognized Israel, and has agreed on a non-violent approach. As long as the Islamists join the PLO they have to abide by the politics of the organization. Becoming member would also mean to adopt PLO's non-violent approach. A possible outcome could thus be a de-jihadization of Hamas and Jihad.
- Alternatively it might be asked, how may the membership of the Islamists possibly change the political orientation of the PLO? By becoming members of the executive committee of the PLO, the Islamists could veto future negotiations or agreements with Israel they dislike. In the long run they could also work to change PLO's platform and non-violent strategy. A "jihadization" of the PLO could thus be a possible outcome of Islamist participation in the PLO.