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Palestine - bring on the elections

By David Singer - posted Monday, 11 February 2013


Democracy continues to be seen nowhere in "the State of Palestine", whilst Israel's choice for next Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is engaged in the usual machinations involved in putting a coalition together to govern Israel for the next four years.

Such political comings and goings are being eagerly followed by a free press commenting with gay abandon on every twist and turn in the daily developments as their avid readership devours the opinions of dozens of different commentators in newspapers and on radio, television and the internet with very different political viewpoints.

The 2003 Bush Roadmap For Peace - supposedly still the basis on which the long -stalled negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (defunct since 3 January 2013) were being conducted - was uncompromising in its final destination:

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A two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism, when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror and willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty, and through Israel's readiness to do what is necessary for a democratic Palestinian state to be established, and a clear, unambiguous acceptance by both parties of the goal of a negotiated settlement as described below.

Any attempt by the "Palestinian people" to have any say in electing a leadership that will act decisively against terror and ending violence and terrorism has been silenced since 25 January 2006 - when their votes elected Hamas as winner of the elections with 74 seats to Fatah's 45 - providing Hamas with the majority of the 132 available seats and the ability to form a majority government of its own.

The people chose the wrong horse if they expected violence and terrorism would end - but then they have to live with their choice until they get another chance to change their minds.

That is surely the essence of democracy - that there is an "out" - the ability of the people to regularly express their confidence or otherwise in the people they have elected.

However the people have not been given this opportunity since 2006.

The elected Prime Minister Ismail Haniya was unceremoniously dumped by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on 15 June 2007 on the basis of "national emergency".

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This has resulted in bitter internecine strife between Hamas and Fatah ever since that has seen the human rights of hundreds of thousands of the electorate abused in an orgy of violence, killing and detention without trial.

Frequent attempts to effect a reconciliation have failed, and will continue to fail, as both pursue very different political goals and objectives.

The people need to be the circuit breakers in this long running dispute but indications are they will not be allowed to have their say.

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at www.jordanispalestine.blogspot.com.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by David Singer

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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