The tough measures imposed by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have deterred many Palestinians from taking to the streets.

Fatah thugs were used to assault dozens of young Palestinians who had been camping in the center of Ramallah to call for Palestinian unity. The thugs torched the protesters' tents and also beat a number of photographers.

In Gaza City, Hamas activists also used force to disperse thousands of pro-unity demonstrators.

In many ways, the status quo appears to be very convenient for the two Palestinian governments. Backed by Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas has succeeded in solidifying its power in the Gaza Strip over the past four years, crushing political opponents and reformists. Today the Hamas regime does not face any major challenge from within the Gaza Strip.

In the West Bank, however, the Palestinian government, with the help of the US and many EU countries, has also been successful in preventing the emergence of a new and younger leadership.

In addition, many Palestinian government employees are afraid of losing their jobs if caught taking part in street protests. In the past few years, the Palestinian Authority government has used this weapon to fire thousands of civil servants on the grounds that they are affiliated with "hostile" elements – in this instance,Hamas.

Using its security forces and tight grip on the media, the Western-funded Palestinian Authority has managed to shift attention from internal problems to its plan to ask the UN in September to recognize a Palestinian state. Palestinians in the West Bank are not supposed to demand reform and good government now because the Palestinian leadership is telling them that it is too busy pursuing its statehood bid in the international arena.

Moreover, the two Palestinian governments have accused the protesters of receiving aid from "foreign parties" – an allegation that implies that the demonstrators are agents of the enemies of the Palestinians, namely Israel. Because no Palestinian wants to be depicted as a "collaborator" with Israel, it is unlikely that Palestinians would come out against the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, at least not in the foreseeable future.

Like most Arab dictatorships, the two Palestinian governments often try to discredit their critics by accusing them of being Israeli or American spies.

Last March, when it seemed as if the popular uprisings in a number of Arab countries had arrived in the Palestinian territories, thousands of Palestinians took to the streets as part of a Facebook-orchestrated campaign to demand an end to Palestinian "divisions."

Inspired by the Egyptian demonstrators in Tahrir Square, the Palestinian protesters staged sit-in strikes in the center of Ramallah and Gaza City.

Although the Palestinian protesters were careful not to attack the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, they quickly found themselves facing policemen and thugs belonging to the two rival parties.

Palestinians are also reluctant to come out in large numbers against the two governments because they still do not see a better alternative to the Palestinian Authority and Hamas: Over the past few years, both governments have had a common interest in suppressing the emergence of a strong and charismatic third party.

Since then, Palestinians have stopped trying to copy the tactics used by anti-government demonstrators in the Arab world.

With both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, the violence achieved its goal and brought about a swift to what could have evolved into a Palestinian spring.

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