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Sunday, February 20, 2011

'Palestinian elections': Why bother?

A great comment from Jonathan Tobin on this week's apparent cancellation of 'Palestinian elections':
The fact is that holding elections in either the West Bank or Gaza would be a sham of democracy, since the competing parties — Abbas’s Fatah and Hamas — are both violent organizations that rule by intimidation, not persuasion. Any electoral contest between them would be, as it has been in the past, a test of their relative military strengths as much as one of the popularity of their ideas. So long as the culture of Palestinian politics is one in which the primary source of legitimacy is violence and shedding the blood of Israelis, the choice will always be between these two unsavory alternatives. Neither has the will or desire for a peace treaty with Israel.

Under these circumstances, the best we can hope for is a continuation of Prime Minister Salaam Fayad’s Israel-supported state-building and economic development that may someday lead to a sea change in Palestinian society. Until then, the idea of dignifying the undemocratic power lust of either Fatah or Hamas with the imprimatur of elections would be a mockery of democracy, not an affirmation of the concept.

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At 10:20 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Its entirely possible the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions were anomalies.

The Libyan and Bahraini dictatorships have shown no hesitation in killing their own people to remain in power. This signifies there is no end to history in much of the Middle East and the Arab way of governance for the most part remains unchanged.

Indeed, after an initial bout of panic both the PA and Hamas have concluded that mass protests on the Palestinian street are not going to happen in the foreseeable future and if there is a challenge to the regimes the specter of mass killings will be enough to put them down as well as to deter people from taking to the streets.

In all likelihood, the fundamental reality of Arab autocracy will continue in the Middle East in our lifetime.


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