The book written by Jamil Hilal is based on research that relied largely, but not solely, on interviews and discussions that he and two research assistants carried out over the spring and early summer of 2009 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. One hundred and eight figures from the Left were interviewed distributed as follows: 61 were members of left-wing parties (the four parties that declare commitment to the socialist option) and 47 non party members (all, except one were previous members in the four left-wing parties); 21 were women, 37 were young (between 20 and 34). Sixteen were Politburo’s members; 20 were members of central committee and 25 were from the rank and file of the leftwing political parties. The book utilized party literatures, articles by the left in journals and newspapers and internal memos.
The other chapters of the book cover the following: An introduction that outlines the circumstances that gave rise to the contemporary Palestinian Left in the 1960s and the conditions that impacted its organization and practice. The second chapter discusses how Palestinian (and Arab) leftwing parties define the Left ideologically and programmatically while the third chapter details the “subjective” factors that the Left see as the causes of its decline. The fourth chapter details the “objective” factors that the Left views to have contributed to the weakening of its influence and contracted significantly its social base. Chapter five discusses how the left evaluates its role in relation to the ongoing conflict between Fatah and Hamas, and the chapter six is devoted to ideas and comments on how the left can regain its influence and activate its mission in the current Palestinian situation which is characterized by political deadlock, societal fragmentation, political polarization, and a paralysis of national institutions.
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