In opposition to the PA, liberal as well as Islamic social forces promote policies of protest and resistance, through media tools, against the authoritarian policies of the PA. The media is viewed as a public sphere in which these forces compete. Media institutions play an important role in setting the parameters of communication in processes of state building: promoting public debate and forming public spheres influence the modes of statecivil society relations. Combining concepts of political communication with social movement theory, the author examines the extent to which public opinion plays a role in determining the character of the political regime. The rising tension between the Palestinian Authority's attempts to deepen its control over society and the reaction to this development by opposition groups informs the analysis of each civil institution: the role of NGOs, the Islamic movement, the women's movement and Palestinian feminism, and the liberal-democratic intellectual elite, are all assessed through their media institutions and communication policies, to reveal the character of the emerging Palestinian public sphere.
Amal Jamal is Professor in Political Science at Tel Aviv University. He is the author of The Palestinian National Movement and the Politics of Contention, 19672003. His research interests are political communication; state building and civil society; minority politics and democratic theory