It looks like some younger Palestinian terrorists are hoping to wrest some control away from Arafat.

The Revolutionary Council of Yasser Arafat's dominant Fatah faction meets today for the first time since the start of the Palestinian intifada in 2000, with some members hoping to overthrow or sideline an "old guard" whom they blame for political and military failures and rampant corruption.

The attack on longtime leaders is being described as a push for democratization, but is also seen as a way to clip Mr. Arafat's wings without openly attacking a man widely revered as the "Symbol of the Revolution."

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the people pushing for "democratization" are really that interested in stopping the PLO's use of terror tactics. Still, reigning in the corruption of the PLO might lead to greater prosperity for average Palestinians. Poverty doesn't cause terrorism, but the leaders of the PLO blame the poverty of the Palestinian people on Israel, and thus use it as a political issue to maintain support for terrorist attacks.

Although it's transparently obvious from the outside, it seems most Palestinians don't realize that their poverty is the result of PLO corruption.

Pointing to packets of potato chips, cornflakes, soaps and chocolates made in Israel, Russia and Italy, a Bethlehem shopkeeper last night complained that the products cost up to 50 percent more in the West Bank than in Israel.

The Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority licenses only one importer per product, he said, and then receives a monthly kickback equaling 3 percent of the importer's purchase price, which goes directly into the bank accounts of senior officials.

The importer, meanwhile, is able to grossly overcharge for the products because of the lack of competition, said the shopkeeper, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The real problem facing the Palestinians, however, isn't poverty, but their refusal to acknowledge that they've already lost their war with the "Zionist entity". According to polls, most Palestinians support the use of terrorist attacks on Israel. Until that changes, their lot isn't going to improve, no matter which group of terrorists is running the PLO.



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