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ISSN: 2183-2463

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The Palestinian Authority and the Reconfigured World Order: Between Multilateralism, Unilateralism, and Dependency Relationships

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Abstract:  Against the backdrop of changes in the power structure of the international system at the end of the twentieth century, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) entered into a peace process with Israel in 1993. Initially characterized by the influence of a multilateral order and then by the unipolar order dominated by the United States, in addition to the asymmetry of power between the two parties, the process ended up failing. The heir to that political legacy, the Palestinian Authority (PA), has tried to compensate for this weakness—despite its dependency relationships—with an internationalization strategy the continued advance of which appears to be severely limited. Added to this is the setback brought about by the political and diplomatic offensive of the Trump administration (2017–2021), one of unilateral support for Israel and absolute Palestinian exclusion. However, the increasing reconfiguration of the world order, the arrival of the new Biden administration, and the receptiveness of the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes in Palestine seem to indicate a new political juncture. In this situation, the PA could also try to counterbalance the power asymmetry by seeking greater involvement from countries such as Russia, which has returned to the region as a great power, and China, whose presence there is growing. In turn, the PA will have to deal with different issues (unity, elections, a renewal of leadership) and try to boost its political legitimacy and international alliances to three ends: the prominence and reactivation of the PA, the recognition of Palestine as a state with in situ results, and international protection from Israeli policies.

Keywords:  dependency relationships; international system; legitimacy; Middle East; multilateralism; Palestine Liberation Organization; Palestinian Authority; unilateralism; unipolarity; world order



© Mar Gijón Mendigutía, José Abu-Tarbush. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.