The Dilemma of Unimaginable Democracy in Palestine – OpEd
Many Palestinian intellectuals and political analysts discover themselves within the unenviable place of getting to vote on whether or not they assist or reject the upcoming Palestinian elections that are scheduled for Might 22 and July 30. However there aren’t any simple solutions.
The long-awaited decree of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas final January for the holding of legislative and presidential elections within the coming months has been broadly hailed, not as a triumph for democracy however as the primary tangible optimistic end result dialogue between rival Palestinian factions, primarily Abbas. Fatah and Hamas Social gathering.
With regard to the Palestinian inside dialogue, the elections, in the event that they happen with out obstruction, might current a glimmer of hope that, ultimately, the Palestinians of the occupied territories will profit from a level of democratic illustration, a primary step in direction of illustration. extra complete which might embody hundreds of thousands of Palestinians exterior the occupied territories.
However even such modest expectations are conditioned by many “ifs”: provided that Palestinian factions honor their commitments to the September 24 Istanbul Accord; provided that Israel permits Palestinians, together with the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to vote with out hindrance and chorus from arresting Palestinian candidates; provided that the US-led worldwide group accepts the end result of democratic elections with out punishing the successful events and candidates; provided that legislative and presidential elections are adopted by bigger and extra substantial elections to the Palestinian Nationwide Council (PNC) – the Palestinian parliament in exile – and so forth.
If both of those circumstances just isn’t met, the Might election is unlikely to serve any sensible objective, apart from giving Abbas and his rivals the veneer of legitimacy, permitting them to purchase much more money and time. ” purchase much more funds from their monetary benefactors.
All of this forces us to ask ourselves the next query: is democracy doable beneath army occupation?
Virtually instantly after the final democratic Palestinian legislative elections in 2006, the end result of which Israel displeased, 62 Palestinian ministers and members of the brand new parliament had been thrown in jail, a lot of whom stay in jail.
Historical past is repeating itself as Israel has already begun its campaigns to arrest Hamas leaders and operatives within the West Financial institution. On February 22, greater than 20 Palestinian activists, together with Hamas officers, had been arrested as a transparent message from the Israeli occupation to the Palestinians that Israel doesn’t acknowledge their dialogue, unity agreements or democracy.
Two days later, Hamas chief, 67, Omar Barghouti, was summoned by Israeli army intelligence to the occupied West Financial institution and warned towards working for the Might election. “The Israeli officer warned me to not run for the following election and threatened me with imprisonment if I did,” Barghouti mentioned, quoted by Al-Monitor.
Palestinian primary legislation permits prisoners to face for election, whether or not legislative or presidential, just because the preferred amongst Palestinian leaders are sometimes behind bars. Marwan Barghouti is one among them.
Imprisoned since 2002, Barghouti stays the preferred chief of Fatah, though extra appreciated by the younger cadres of the motion, versus the previous guard of Abbas. The latter group has benefited enormously from the corrupt system of political patronage upon which the 85-year-old president has constructed his authority.
To assist this corrupt system, Abbas and his clique have labored to marginalize Barghouti, suggesting that Israel’s imprisonment of the dynamic chief of Fatah serves the pursuits of the present Palestinian president.
This declare has numerous substance, not solely as a result of Abbas has put little stress on Israel to launch Barghouti, but additionally as a result of all credible public opinion polls counsel that Barghouti is rather more widespread amongst Fatah supporters. – in truth all Palestinians – than Abbas.
On February 11, Abbas dispatched Hussein Al-Sheikh, Minister of Civil Affairs and member of the Fatah Central Committee, to dissuade Barghouti from working within the subsequent presidential elections. A perfect state of affairs for the Palestinian president could be to make the most of Barghouti’s reputation by having him lead the Fatah checklist within the competitors of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). Thus, Abbas might safe a powerful turnout from Fatah supporters whereas nonetheless holding the presidency for himself.
Barghouti vehemently rejected Abbas’s request, elevating an sudden problem for Abbas, who now dangers splitting the Fatah vote, shedding the LPC elections once more to Hamas, and shedding the presidential elections to Hamas. Barghouti.
Between the raids and nightly repressions by the Israeli military and the political intrigue inside the divided Fatah motion, one wonders if the elections, if they’re held, will lastly permit the Palestinians to mount a united entrance within the struggle towards it. occupation and for Palestinian freedom. .
Then there may be the query of the doable place of the “worldwide group” on the end result of the elections. Stories converse of Hamas’ efforts to safe ensures from Qatar and Egypt “to make sure that Israel doesn’t prosecute its representatives and candidates within the subsequent election,” Al-Monitor additionally reported.
However what sort of ensures can Arab nations get from Tel Aviv, and what sort of leverage can Doha and Cairo have as Israel continues to disregard the UN, worldwide legislation, the Prison Courtroom? worldwide, and many others.
Nonetheless, can Palestinian democracy afford to subsist in its state of inertia? Abbas’s time period as president expired in 2009, the PLC’s time period expired in 2010 and, in truth, the Palestinian Authority was created as an interim political physique whose perform ought to have ceased in 1999. Since then, the “Palestinian management” has not loved legitimacy among the many Palestinians, deriving its relevance, as an alternative, from the assist of its benefactors, who’re hardly ever all in favour of supporting democracy in Palestine.
The one optimistic side of this story is that Fatah and Hamas additionally agreed on the restructuring of the Palestine Liberation Group (PLO), which is now largely monopolized by Abbas’s Fatah motion. Whether or not the democratic overhaul of the PLO takes place or not relies upon largely on the end result of the Might and July elections.
Palestine, like different nations, together with Israel, is experiencing a disaster of political legitimacy. Since Palestine is an occupied land with little or no freedom, it’s justified to say that true democracy beneath these horrible circumstances can’t be achieved.