The futility of holding elections under a foreign military occupation
The futility of holding elections under a foreign military occupation
Monday, July 14,2008 00:50
By khalid Amayreh

It is often said that a wise man can see more from the bottom of a well than a fool can from a mountain top. It is also said that a wise man learns from the mistakes of other people, an imbecile learns from his own mistakes, but a fool learns neither from the mistakes of others nor from his own mistakes.

 

Unfortunately,  these adages  apply squarely and accurately  to the American-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah. Its foolishness just transcends reality as it keeps repeating the same stupid mistakes over and over again.

 

Like  an irredeemable  drunkard who drinks so much that he begins to think that  he is the greatest person on earth, the PA seems thoroughly convinced that it is a “state,” or at least a state in the making, that it has “authority,”  even “sovereignty,” when in fact it has neither.

 

How many acts of rape the Israeli army must carry out against our  towns, where the PA is supposed to exercise “exclusive responsibility,” will convince us that we are lying to ourselves and being lied to?

 

Unfortunately, such fantastic convictions  on our part are enforced by the often  stately treatment accorded to the PA by western governments.

 

American and European heads of state visiting  Ramallah  routinely  give the impression that they are paying a state visit to a sovereign state.

 

Similarly, the  red-carpet receptions  often given to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Western capitals would suggest that the Palestinians were finally obtaining their freedom from the Nazi-like Israeli occupation.

 

This would be a justified impression because, after all, people languishing under a foreign military occupation don’t usually have presidents, governments, and ministers and security forces and huge bureaucracies.  And when they do, these governments and presidents are usually referred to as “collaborators” or “quislings” or “Judenrate”

 

Israel and the United States knew the reality of the PA from the very beginning. Hence, they  managed to create the “trappings” of authority and even statehood, such as calling the PA chairman “president” and calling  PA operatives “ministers”   and bestowing  the highest military honors on Palestinian security officials, many of whom are versed in military sciences as much as I am versed in the Martian language.

 

Interestingly, all of this happened while the PA succumbs to the status of  vanquished supplicant that keeps begging  Israel for travel permits or a certain, usually personal, favor…because “we must carry out our commitments under the agreements signed.”

But, of course, most Palestinians realize that the PA has no real authority or sovereignty since its very existence and survival depends almost completely on the Israeli acceptance of it.

 

Now, this Palestinian Authority is urging Palestinian political factions to agree to organize “presidential and parliamentary elections” as soon as possible in order to form a government that would “run the country.”

 

Well, have we really become the laughingstock of the world? Have our stupidity and foolishness transcended reality?

 

I am saying this because how on earth can we possibly hold  genuine elections under the Nazi-like Israeli occupation in light of the scandalous “experiments” that we held  in 2005 and 2006, when the Jewish Gestapo, otherwise known as Israeli security forces, abducted hundreds of  candidates and elected officials, even before they had the opportunity to reach their offices.

 

So, I want to ask misters Mahmoud Abbas, Salam Fayyadh, and their cohorts and hangers-on if they have any guarantees from the US or Europe  that Israel would allow free  and fair elections to take place and that Israel would respect the outcome of such elections if they were held.

 

In 2005, I covered the municipal elections at the town of Dhahiriya, 25 kilometers west of Hebron. I remember that on the eve of the elections there, the Israeli army stormed the homes of several local candidates, including the would-be mayor and his deputy because they  happened to hold “non-conformist views.”

 

When the two men were eventually freed from Israeli custody many months later, they narrated to reporters how the Israeli army sought to justify their abduction, by telling them that “you must know that sovereignty here belongs to the IDF not the Palestinian people.”

 

Similarly, I remember that following the parliamentary elections of January 2006, the Israeli army would deliberately stop legislative council members and even cabinet ministers at roadblocks and force them to stand for several hours in order to be seen by passing Palestinian motorists. The message was very clear.

 

Today, the vast bulk of these elected Palestinian mayors and municipal council members as well as legislative council members are still  languishing in Israeli dungeons and concentration camps, either without charge or trial, or on concocted and flimsy charges, such as “posing a threat to the survival of the Jewish people” and “constituting a mortal danger to the security of the region.”

 

Besides,  let us imagine  how Israel would react  if  the elections PA officials are now  calling for  produced a new set of leaders the Zionist establishment  would consider “terrorists” for refusing to do Israel’s bidding.

 

Then  most probably Israel would round them up at one fell swoop, and the Palestinian people would relive the same nightmare we are living now, even before the people elected last time are released from the Israeli custody?

 

I am not saying that we should entirely  rule out the concept of holding elections. However, we must have solid guarantees that Israel will respect the outcome of the elections and refrain from arresting and hounding candidates and winners.

 

And if these essential preconditions proved to be impossible to meet due to Israeli intransigence, then  we  would have to forget about  such elections. Then Maybe we would have to think of dismantling the PA once and for all since it has already become a devastating liability undermining the morality of our just cause.

 

In the final analysis, we must not fool ourselves once again, because if we did we would be more than a laughingstock of the world. We would be our own worst enemies.

 

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