The Palestinians: Who's Afraid of Elections?
Almost at the same time that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was meeting in the White House with President Barack Obama last week, the Palestinian government surprised Palestinians by announcing that municipal elections, slated for July 17, have been called off indefinitely.
Abbas's government did not offer any explanation for its controversial decision. The election was supposed to be held only in the West Bank: not only had Hamas, along with several other radical groups, banned the election in the Gaza Strip, it had announced its intention to boycott it.
Many Palestinians who have condemned the decision as undemocratic and illegal say that the real reason behind the cancellation of the vote is Abbas's fear that his ruling Fatah faction would suffer a humiliating defeat.
Fatah seems to have good reason to be afraid to contest the vote.
Over the past few weeks, Fatah leaders failed to agree on the identities of the candidates who would represent them in the election.
Many Fatah members threatened to run as independents or as representatives of their clans -- one of the reasons Fatah lost the last two votes: the municipal election in 2005 and the parliamentary election in 2006.
The decision to call off the election should be regarded as an admission of failure on the part of the Western-backed Palestinian Authority. It is also a blow to the US Administration's efforts to prepare the Palestinians for statehood.
The US, like the rest of the international community, continues to stick to the belief that Abbas and Fatah are credible peace partners who would one day be able to deliver a peace treaty to the Middle East.
But a party that cannot even hold a municipal election should not be treated as a real partner to anything.
Following Fatah's sixth general assembly in Bethlehem in 2009, some Western and Israeli political analysts started reporting how the faction has gone a long away toward reuniting and reforming itself.
The decision, however, to call off the municipal election in light of deep divisions in the faction proves that all the talk about Fatah "getting its act together" was nothing but wishful thinking.
Fatah continues to be dominated by most of the figures that were responsible for its defeat to Hamas in the last two elections. This is the reason why most Palestinians still do not trust Fatah. And this is the reason why Fatah is unlikely to win in any election, at least not in the foreseeable future. Those who are negotiating with Fatah as a peace partner need to absorb this fact.
Comment on this item
by Douglas Murray
One year after the bombs went off at the Boston marathon, Brandeis authorities were so intent on avoiding the issues those bombs had raised, that they would rather point the finger at a critic of the radical ideology than do anything to criticize the ideology.
Is not the Palestinian leadership a viable negotiating partner with whom peace is just about to be achieved? How do you protest if the protesters are Muslims? Who are the victims and who are the victimizers? After all, "victims" cannot victimize, can they?
When we see a global bigotry and hatred such as this, we should identify it as such and demand, in the name of all that is decent, that it stop.
by Anna Mahjar-Barducci
Libya is the new jihadist front on the Mediterranean -- and just a few hours away from the centers of Europe.
Several security sources have confirmed that Belmokhtar is still alive and has moved, along with his troops, from Mali to a new base in the Libyan desert.
by Timon Dias
"If Lady Justice is truly blind, she will prosecute all of us or none of us. I hope none of us." — Geert Wilders, MP and Leader of the Party for Freedom, the Netherlands.
A more recent development is the pending Dutch Moroccan takeover of the drugs and human trafficking businesses.
by Shabnam Assadollahi
It is now being said that Morteza Sarbandi, instead of assaulting Reyhaneh Jabbari, was stabbed while performing Muslim prayers.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
"We reject all forms of violence... Palestinian blood is like Israeli blood. It is human blood and precious and no one wants anyone killed." — Mahmoud al-Habbash, Palestinian Minister of Religious Affairs
"If your blood is like the blood of Zionists, our blood is not." — Zakariya Zubeidi, former leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade.
"We call for lifting his [al-Habbash's] diplomatic immunity and for prosecuting him immediately for his administrative, financial, and political corruption. We also call on President Abbas to fire him immediately from the Palestinian cabinet." — Mansour al-Sa'di, Fatah leader.
The angry reactions show that there are many Palestinians who see no problem with a terrorist attack against a Jewish family. Palestinian leaders can blame only themselves.
- Palestinians: "Prisoners Day"
by Khaled Abu Toameh
- UK: Multiculturalism vs. Islamism
by Samuel Westrop
- UK: Probe of Islamic Takeover Plot Widens
by Soeren Kern
- Anti-Israel BDS Resolutions Seize Campuses in Ontario, Canada
by Christine Williams
- History of the Muslim Brotherhood Penetration of the U.S. Government
by Clare M. Lopez