The Nudnik File

Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

              Palestinian Elections
Since the death of Arafat, there have been increasing calls for a renewed "peace process" between Israel and the Palestinians, especially after the Palestinians prove that they are democratic by holding elections. Barry Rubin analyzes the future elections and the prospects for peace.
To begin with, the Palestinian elections will be proclaimed as a near-model exercise in democracy. Yet it is easy to see that Fatah bosses chose the sole candidate, and Fatah bodies then unanimously endorsed him. Other candidates were pressured to quit.

This election will be like those regularly held in Arab dictatorships, the establishment's man monopolizing media coverage and active regime backing. The sole difference: a few minor candidates can run.

On election day Abu Mazen will get 80 percent of the vote or more, and observers will say the balloting was free and fair.

But what happens at the ballot box means nothing for the power struggle among dozens of warlord-type contenders and the two main factions.
The main issue is the fact that even with Arafat's death, the leadership of the Palestinians remains basically the same. Yoram Ettinger demonstrates how the present leadership, which is talked about as "moderate" and "open to peace", has been involved with some of the defining terrorist acts, and how they are still intimately linked to Hamas.
In 1972, Abu Mazen handled the financial aspects of the 1972 Munich Olympic Games massacre of 11 Israeli athletes. He steered pre-1989 PLO ties with ruthless East European regimes and the Soviet Union, wrote a thesis on Holocaust Denial at Moscow University, co-managed PLO hijacking of Western planes during the early 1970s and the murder of U.S. ambassadors in 1972.

A few days following the signing of the 1993 Oslo accord, Abu Mazen, Abu Ala' Dahlan and Rajoub engineered a series of PA-Hamas understandings.
So no matter what the cosmetic changes that the "new" PA makes, the core remains the same. The goal of the Palestinians continues to be the destruction of Israel, not a state beside Israel. This is the root of the problem, and until it is openly acknowledged and remedied - and the Palestinians are disabused of the notion that they can achieve their goals - there will not be peace.
Legitimizing top leaders of the PA, such as Abu Mazen, Abu Ala', Dahlan and Rajoub - in defiance of their horrific track records - constitutes a victory of wishful thinking over moral clarity. The suggestion that the four are moderate compared with Mr. Arafat, is to suggest that the Boston Strangler was moderate compared with Jack the Ripper. It sends a devastating message to terrorists: Not only can you get away with murder, but you shall be rewarded. It energizes global terrorism, deters moderation, precludes free Palestinian elections and undermines the cause of peace. In 1993, wishful thinking smothered Israeli and Western policy-makers. It provided Mr. Arafat with unprecedented legitimacy, triggering unprecedented terrorism. How many innocent lives will be sacrificed on the altar of Abu Mazen and Abu Ala'?
|| Nudnik 1:43 PM
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