Democracy Charade for Palestine

Category: World Affairs Topics: Hamas, Middle East, Occupation, Palestine Views: 2731
2731

How troublesome the Muslims of the Middle East are. First, we demand that the Palestinians embrace democracy and then they elect the wrong party - Hamas - and then Hamas wins a mini-civil war and presides over the Gaza Strip. And we Westerners still want to negotiate with the discredited President, Mahmoud Abbas. Today "Palestine" - and let's keep those quotation marks in place - has two prime ministers. Welcome to the Middle East. 

Who can we negotiate with? To whom do we talk? Well of course, we should have talked to Hamas months ago. But we didn't like the democratically elected government of the Palestinian people. They were supposed to have voted for Fatah and its corrupt leadership. But they voted for Hamas, which declines to recognise Israel or abide by the totally discredited Oslo agreement.

No one asked - on our side - which particular Israel Hamas was supposed to recognise. The Israel of 1948? The Israel of the post-1967 borders? The Israel which builds - and goes on building - vast settlements for Jews and Jews only on Arab land, gobbling up even more of the 22 per cent of "Palestine" still left to negotiate over ?

And so today, we are supposed to talk to our faithful policeman, Mr Abbas, the "moderate" (as the BBC, CNN and Fox News refer to him) Palestinian leader, a man who wrote a 600-page book about Oslo without once mentioning the word "occupation", who always referred to Israeli "redeployment" rather than "withdrawal", a "leader" we can trust because he wears a tie and goes to the White House and says all the right things. The Palestinians didn't vote for Hamas because they wanted an Islamic republic - which is how Hamas's bloody victory will be represented - but because they were tired of the corruption of Mr Abbas's Fatah and the rotten nature of the "Palestinian Authority".

I recall years ago being summoned to the home of a PA official whose walls had just been punctured by an Israeli tank shell. All true. But what struck me were the gold-plated taps in his bathroom. Those taps - or variations of them - were what cost Fatah its election. Palestinians wanted an end to corruption - the cancer of the Arab world - and so they voted for Hamas and thus we, the all-wise, all-good West, decided to sanction them and starve them and bully them for exercising their free vote. Maybe we should offer "Palestine" EU membership if it would be gracious enough to vote for the right people?

All over the Middle East, it is the same. We support Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan, even though he keeps warlords and drug barons in his government (and, by the way, we really are sorry about all those innocent Afghan civilians we are killing in our "war on terror" in the wastelands of Helmand province).

We love Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, whose torturers have not yet finished with the Muslim Brotherhood politicians recently arrested outside Cairo, whose presidency received the warm support of Mrs - yes Mrs - George W Bush - and whose succession will almost certainly pass to his son, Gamal.

We adore Muammar Gaddafi, the crazed dictator of Libya whose werewolves have murdered his opponents abroad, whose plot to murder King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia preceded Tony Blair's recent visit to Tripoli - Colonel Gaddafi, it should be remembered, was called a "statesman" by Jack Straw for abandoning his non-existent nuclear ambitions - and whose "democracy" is perfectly acceptable to us because he is on our side in the "war on terror".

Yes, and we love King Abdullah's unconstitutional monarchy in Jordan, and all the princes and emirs of the Gulf, especially those who are paid such vast bribes by our arms companies that even Scotland Yard has to close down its investigations on the orders of our prime minister - and yes, I can indeed see why he doesn't like The Independent's coverage of what he quaintly calls "the Middle East". If only the Arabs - and the Iranians - would support our kings and shahs and princes whose sons and daughters are educated at Oxford and Harvard, how much easier the "Middle East" would be to control.

For that is what it is about - control - and that is why we hold out, and withdraw, favours from their leaders. Now Gaza belongs to Hamas, what will our own elected leaders do? Will our pontificators in the EU, the UN, Washington and Moscow now have to talk to these wretched, ungrateful people (fear not, for they will not be able to shake hands) or will they have to acknowledge the West Bank version of Palestine (Abbas, the safe pair of hands) while ignoring the elected, militarily successful Hamas in Gaza?

It's easy, of course, to call down a curse on both their houses. But that's what we say about the whole Middle East. If only Bashar al-Assad wasn't President of Syria (heaven knows what the alternative would be) or if the cracked President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad wasn't in control of Iran (even if he doesn't actually know one end of a nuclear missile from the other).

If only Lebanon was a home-grown democracy like our own little back-lawn countries - Belgium, for example, or Luxembourg. But no, those pesky Middle Easterners vote for the wrong people, support the wrong people, love the wrong people, don't behave like us civilised Westerners.

So what will we do? Support the reoccupation of Gaza perhaps? Certainly we will not criticise Israel. And we shall go on giving our affection to the kings and princes and unlovely presidents of the Middle East until the whole place blows up in our faces and then we shall say - as we are already saying of the Iraqis - that they don't deserve our sacrifice and our love.

How do we deal with a coup d'etat by an elected government?


Robert Fisk is a British journalist, currently Middle East correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent.

His latest book is "The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East."

The New York Times described him as "probably the most famous foreign correspondent in Britain". He is the world's most-decorated foreign correspondent, having received numerous awards including the British Press Awards' International Journalist of the Year award seven times.


  Category: World Affairs
  Topics: Hamas, Middle East, Occupation, Palestine
Views: 2731

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Older Comments:
NAJJAR FROM MOROCCO said:
The illegal rulers in our lands will need to be punished, from the donkeys in North Africa, to the penguins of the Middle East, who first used violence against us, imposed themselves on us, spend billions to build a huge military machine only to use it against us, instead of defending our lands and our families., and now blatantly work for the caesars and pharaohs of foreign countries instead of working for us. The imperialists are only looking after their interests, most of the time violently; and as a basic right of any human being, we can only legitimately fight their barbarian armies for invading, looting and murdering us. But the greatest punishment will need to be inflicted on our cold-blooded rulers.

Democratic rules are not followed and not respected, and will NEVER BE, by those in America and Europe, who ostensibly and with barefaced hypocrisy 'want' the whole World to implement their so called democracy.

Henry Mencken stated it in few words;
"Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage."
"Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance."

We say to the imperialists; stop your hypocrisy and the mass murdering of our people. Go wash your filthy laundry at home first, we will do the same InshaAllah, when you leave us alone, and you WILL be forced to leave us alone. Whether you like it or not, the Muslim World is changing, so the least you can do for yourselves and your future generations, is to try to be smart and act responsibly. Sans haine et sans rancune.
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AHMED ASGHER FROM BAHRAIN said:
Democracy brought by the western powers to middle east is nothing but a sham. anyone who believes them must be an ostrich. supporting one group against another with millions and drawing a wedge between people is far from giving them democratic principles. if any of these is done in their own country with the full knowledge of their own people they would have a revolution on their hands but they seem to be successful in supporting terrorists to eradicate another terrorists just becuase one lot of terrorists has sided with them. saddam in his hayday is but one example. and all these houses of cards will fall because it is built on lies, deceit and skullduggery. where do the people fit into their scenario? they are 'collateral damage'. one advice: leave people alone to their own lives and they will work it out for themselves as have the indians according to romesh!! and it is true india did not have a dozen foreign parties with cash-loads of money buying one lot and setting them up against another lot even though it took a lot of bloodshed to get where they are.
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MUSADDAQ FROM USA said:
Amazing but true. People around the globe have gone blind. At least some one has taken initiative to speak the truth. I wish all the humanity was capable of understanding the reality of life. At least the pain and tragedy we see would have not existed. May God help us all to discover the true meanings of living and loving for each other.
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MILLY FROM CANADA said:
I wish we had more people like Mr. Fisk who speak up against injustice that is going on in the world. Look at Iraq, sudan, somalia, congo and afghanistan, and palestine...what do they have in common? they're muslim countries...except congo. what else do they have in common, the US, and other western nations have contributed to their downfall one way or the other. Let's all keep in mind the fact that colonization and superiority complex is still alive. If you are not like us (e.g., black, or muslim or....)then you are uncivlized and do not deserve to enjoy your country and its resources. But what the western world especially the the US and it's friend the UK is forgetting is that what goes around comes around. One day, Africa and the Asian continent will rule the world whether they like it or not. And hopefully, they will be on the receiving end.
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BIG BUBBA FROM USA said:
Excellent Robert ! you are right on the money - as usual. Someone needs to tell the emperor he has no clothes.
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BABANDI A. GUMEL FROM U.K. said:
According to what they say democracy is Government of the people for the people by the people.But apparently is not working in the Middle East from Iraq to Palestine.It is a tussle between moderate Muslims supported by right wing Christians against Radical Muslims supported by the Fundementalists.It is unfortunate what happened between Hamas and Fattah both Muslims killing each other.Anyhow the point is when Hamas won the election the West should have cooperated with them. Doing so would have shown that they were genuinely willing to move forward with the so called road map.In addition the agreement reached in Mecca for the formation of the the Unity Government should have been given more chances to work. What is happening is clearly showing that
those who won the election were not allowed to govern and those who lost the election were said to be the right candidates.So winners are losers and losers are winners according to new theory put forward. Is this the way democracy works in the West or any country that prides itself with freedom and rule of law? Yes Hamas should have recognised Israel it would not lose anything. But nonetheless it gave its tacit agreement as infered in the agreement reached in Mecca so they should have cooperated and given it more t chances to succeed or benefit of doubt.Allahu A'alam.
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TASNEEM FROM USA said:
Good article..and I have understood all along what democracy means in USA and how Muslims leaders are slaves to their good life and they like their palaces and women so much that why would they worry abt their citizens..after all we so called had election whc were rigged and they got all the votes.We are 1.2 billion muslims and we cannot even one good leader that we can rally behind him.We are truly in sad state and how will this become right ..maybe not in my life time .
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ROMESH CHANDER FROM USA said:
Palestinians elected the wrong party! Nothing new there. We, in US, elected the wrong president twice in a row, and we have experience of over 200 years; palestinians are only new on this game.
Not only, even after the Iraq fiasco, Britts elected Tony Blair again. I marvel at the people of India. They only gave one chance to the Hindu party. People did not like their work, and at the next available chance, kicked them out summarily in one full swoop -- that is what I call mature democratic thinking.
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