Palestinian Elections: Which Fatah Won?
Abbas does not have a mandate even from his own Fatah faction, to embark on any significant political move, such as signing a peace treaty with Israel or or applying for membership for a Palestinian State at the UN. Had Hamas participated in the elections, turnout would have been higher, and the Islamist movement would easily have defeated a divided Fatah. Instead of going to New York next month, Abbas should stay in Ramallah and work toward reuniting and reforming Fatah before his political rivals drive him out.
Fatah leaders were quick to declare victory in the October 20 local elections in the West Bank.
But the results of the vote for 93 municipal and village councils show that the vote was anything but a victory.
True, in some cities and villages, Fatah did win a majority of seats.
But this is not the same Fatah that Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and the old guard leadership of the faction had backed.
Boycotted by Hamas, this was an election where Abbas's veteran Fatah leadership mainly competed with Fatah candidates who decided to run on an independent ticket.
In the end, the Fatah "rebels" scored major victories in important cities, such as Jenin, Nablus and Ramallah, as well as many villages.
Abbas and the veteran Fatah leadership tried up to the last minute to dissuade the disgruntled members of his faction from running as independents, but to no avail.
The Fatah Central Committee, a body dominated by Abbas loyalists, later decided to expel all the Fatah candidates who insisted on running in the election separately.
The results of the elections show that many of the Fatah candidates who were dismissed scored significant victories. Candidates who were expelled from Fatah defeated those who expelled them: Abbas and old guard Fatah leaders.
Even in places where Abbas's Fatah candidates won, the vote was on the basis of clan affiliation. Many Palestinians voted for Abbas's Fatah candidates not because they were satisfied with the old guard leadership of Fatah, but simply because the candidate happened to belong to their clan.
What is perhaps most worrying for Abbas is the fact that a large number of his policemen and security officers voted for the dissident Fatah candidates who ran against the Palestinian Authority's nominees.
Moreover, low voter turnout in many cities and villages is seen as a sign of indifference on the part of Palestinians in the West Bank. Palestinian analysts are convinced that had Hamas participated in the elections, turnout would have been much higher and the Islamist movement would easily have defeated a divided Fatah.
The low turnout and the success of Fatah rebels in the elections should be seen as a vote of no-confidence in Abbas and the old guard leadership of his ruling faction.
For decades, Abbas and his veteran loyalists in Fatah have blocked the emergence of fresh and younger leaders – something that has seriously affected Fatah's credibility. Failure to reform Fatah and get rid of corrupt officials has also driven many Palestinians away from Abbas and his loyalists.
Abbas's term in office expired in January 2009, but this has not stopped him from continuing to cling to power. In wake of the results of the local elections, it has become obvious that Abbas does not have a mandate -- even from his Fatah faction -- to embark on any significant political move, such as signing a peace treaty with Israel or applying for membership for a Palestinian state in the UN.
Instead of going to New York next month to ask for Palestinian membership, Abbas should stay in Ramallah and work toward reuniting and reforming Fatah before his political rivals drive him and his veteran loyalists out of office.
Comment on this item
by Khaled Abu Toameh
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The anti-Israel campaign of incitement reached its peak with Abbas's speech at the UN a few weeks ago, when he accused Israel of waging a "war of genocide" in the Gaza Strip. Abbas made no reference to Hamas's crimes against both Israelis and Palestinians.
Whatever his motives, it is clear that the man who carried out the most recent attack, was influenced by the messages that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership have been sending their people.
by Richard Kemp
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The Iranian regime remains dedicated to undermining and ultimately destroying the State of Israel. The Islamic State also has Israel in its sights and would certainly use the West Bank as a point from which to attack, if it were open to them.
There can be no two-state solution and no sovereign Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan, however desirable those things might be. The stark military reality is that Israel cannot withdraw its forces from the West Bank.
Fatah leaders ally themselves with the terrorists of Hamas, and, like Hamas, they continue to reject the every existence of the State of Israel.
If Western leaders actually want to help, they should use all diplomatic and economic means to make it clear to the Palestinians that they will never achieve an independent and sovereign state while they remain set on the destruction of the State of Israel.
by Louis René Beres
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Why does no one expect the Palestinians to cease all deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians before being considered for admission to statehood?
On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States endorsed a "Mandate for Palestine," confirming the right of Jews to settle anywhere they chose between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the core American legacy of support for a Jewish State that President Obama now somehow fails to recall.
A sovereign state of Palestine, as identified by the Arabs -- a Muslim land occupied by "Palestinian" Arabs -- has never existed; not before 1948, and not before 1967. From the start, it was, and continues to be, the Arab states -- not Israel -- that became the core impediment to Palestinian sovereignty.
by Timon Dias
It looks as if this new law is meant to serve as a severe roadblock to parties that would like to dismantle the EU in a democratic and peaceful way from within.
A rather dull semantic trick pro-EU figures usually apply, is calling their opponents "anti-Europe."
by Alan M. Dershowitz