"Thus civil society associations in authoritarian states may act more as replicators of the existing political order than as promoters of increased democratization. However, this rather logical observation, backed up by Jamal's empirical findings, has far-reaching implications for the efficacy of Western and global democracy initiatives in the Arab world and elsewhere, especially if those initiatives are less informed by critical thought.
Indeed, relying on multiple donors and interacting with donor agendas, Palestinian Authority ministries often appear to act as NGOs. In turn, Palestinian NGOs have historically acted in place of the absent state, a practice that has continued to some extent in the interim period, supplying a substantial portion of health services, to cite but one example."
Review of Amaney Jamal's book: Barriers to Democracy: The Other Side of Social Capital in Palestine and the Arab World. (Thanks Daniel)
I have blogged profusely about this issue, but as Daniel said: "more ammunition".