Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian National Authority (and a leading politician of the Fatah party) has called for an election before its time to replace a democratically elected Hamas government in order to form the Unity government.
The author shares little sympathy for Hamas – they actually refuse to acknowledge the existence of Israel as a sovereign nation and have consequently lost a lot of support all over the world.
But Palestine is in a mess – there are constant daily clashes between Fatah and Hamas supporters, the government is on the brink of a financial collapse brought upon by a financial embargo on the Hamas government by Europe and America.
Here’s a little bit of a context to the problem – the Palestinians have been occupied by Israel for 50 years now – millions live in refugee camps till date. In the author’s opinion, the reason why an election elects a party like the Hamas to power is because of the frustration of the Palestinian people with the unending occupancy and their perception (not without basis) of the stance of the rest of the world on the conflict.
So now we have a situation where the entire world has a financial embargo on the Hamas government – consequently, the government is almost bankrupt – salaries are not getting paid, basic civic services cannot be maintained and consequently the government is close to imploding.
The situation will only end up worsening the situation. Representative democracy has become a farce – because to most people in the Middle East – the western world’s support of a democratic government is predicated on the fact that the people elect the government that they like and would want to do business with. And it ends up being a vicious cycle.
Moreover, the fact remains that the Palestinians are an occupied people in their own country – Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip still exist. Worse, Israel is now building a wall that will prevent the Palestinians from traveling in their own country. According to Jimmy Carter, in an interview with KCRW’s To the Point – there are checkpoints on roads which prevent Palestinians from crossing the road that runs through their own land.
I understand some of Israel’s motivations for building the wall. But the fact remains – such draconian repressions only serve to increase motivations for perfectly normal people to take up violence against Israel. And increasingly, it becomes a vortex of attacks and retaliations that becomes impossible to get out of.
In my opinion, making a democratically elected government an international pariah will eventually harm those very motivations that caused the world to not transact with the Hamas government. Besides, the author feels that it amounts to persecuting an occupied people even further.
For the sake of peace between Israel and Palestine – I hope the situation changes soon. One would hope that Hamas and Fatah can cobble together some kind of peace – and Palestine doesn’t spiral into a civil war. And the world should restart humanitarian and other financial aid to the Palestinian people with immediate effect.
Time will tell. I will keep this forum updated.