Tuesday 18 April 2006

The unjust condemnation of Palestinian choice

A Democratic exasperation
You can imagine my exasperation with the whole concept of the exercise of democratic privilege when people are empowered to govern but emasculated by the lack of financial and moral support.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the Palestinian situation. The world or the West in particular having clamoured for ages incessantly for the people of Palestine to be given a voice in the deciding who leads them finally got that wish fulfilled.
Unfortunately, as the new Knesset was being sworn in, the Islamic Jihad found another martyr to blow up a Tel Aviv restaurant and Hamas gets abraded for not doing anything about it.
Now, let us juxtapose this situation against the motion that was about to be slated at the Knesset yesterday for its dissolution of the 17th Knesset before commencement.
MK (Member of Knesset) Zevulun Orlev of the National Union-National Religious Party is of the opinion that Kadima lacks an ideology having been the brainchild of Ariel Sharon who fell into a coma literally in the conception stages of that party.
His words, “Kadima is creating a patchwork government devoid of ideology that is already tottering and won't last long
The choices were stark
With that said, one wonders if the Palestinians did study the political choices before them before voting. It would be insulting to their intelligence to suggest that all parties in the Palestinian elections did not have their ideologies, ideas, programmes, promises and faults.
To the Palestinian people the corrupt and ineffective Fatah movement of which Yasser Arafat was leader did little to assuage the sufferings and problems of their people.
Hamas demonstrates the conscience of its people
It is however, on record and visible to all concerned that the Hamas movement though labelled terrorist in the West has done more than many other organisation to address socio-economic issues; these being very much in line with what the Palestinian majority requires.
There also no doubt in anybody’s mind that the Hamas ideology did not recognise Israel as a nation and they use tools of dissent albeit suicide bombers at certain times to highlight their message.
Israel over the years tired to decimate the leadership of Hamas through targeted assassinations, which included a blind old man in a wheelchair, but we could not find it in our hearts to condemn such measures.
Hamas is now the political force in Palestine, who along with their ideologies has considered reneging or ignoring the agreements made by previous governments on behalf of the Palestinians – I think that is also their prerogative.
Subverting ideology through blackmail
Having now clearly seen and heard the will and voice of the Palestinians, I find it unconscionable that leading democracies in the world can ask Hamas to change the ideology on which they won elections.
This would be tantamount to asking the American Republican Party to change from conservative values to liberal, if not communist values having just won an election. We all know that that would never happen in the West, so why demand it of Hamas?
We are now left in a very sorry situation where the self-same leading democracies have withheld funding to the Hamas-led government in order to force a change in the principles and platform on which Hamas was elected. That is patently not fair and definitely anti-democratic.
It begs the question that Kadima a party with no clear ideology assumes power in that sense of obscurity and Hamas with a well-documented ideology assumes power and they are assessed from different perspectives.
The poorer democracies speaking up
I would hope that the Arab states would step up to the challenge and ensure that the fledgling democracy in Palestine survives despite the animosity of the West. This would do well to slow down the democratic crusade marching into the Middle East, as many would see this as typical double standards.
As for dealing with the suicide bombers; if you want Hamas to be effective, you will have to put your money where your mouth is – It is to the shame of Europe, American and Japan that it is Russia, Qatar and Iran that is stepping forward to honour the decisions of a long-oppressed people.
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