Thursday, January 26, 2006

Democracy is dead, long live hypocrisy

Commentators are queuing up to express their opinion why the will of the people must be ignored. The Palestinian people have spoken, but obviously they are not mature enough for democracy. They have not learned the lessons of Algeria; they have not understood that Western democracy does not mean you can vote for whom you want, it does not mean the will of the people should prevail: Western democracy implies that you should only have a limited choice between more or less identical options so as not to upset the apple cart.

The acting Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert has gone on record that he would not talk to a Palestinian government headed by Hamas because “A political party that is viable, is one that professes peace, in my judgment”. On that basis nobody should speak to him either from now on. Israel, hallowed by the United States as the only “democracy” in the Middle East, was founded by war and continues to illegally occupy Palestinian territory.

Others have suggested that Hamas could lead a government but make a non-Hamas member prime minister in order to interface with the outside world. Yet others say that the Palestinian authority should have read the writing on the wall and found ways of excluding Hamas from standing in the elections in the first place. This is what democracy is all about: never give people the choice they would really want. If they’re stupid enough to vote for whom they don’t really want that party can then claim legitimacy – like Blair’s minority government in Britain or Bush’s Supreme Court installed dictatorship.

The self-appointed “International Community” misses an important point, however: There are real communities out there who have real aspirations whether outsiders are willing to acknowledge them or not. As far as the Palestinians are concerned they are not letting the Israelis be the judge of what they should want, nor are they likely to be bothered whether Israel wants to talk to Hamas or not, seeing they were not talking peace anyway. And even when they were occasionally talking peace for the cameras, they never meant it.

The facts remain. Israeli’s occupation of Palestine is illegal under international law and unwelcome in Palestine. Palestinians will not support anyone who pretends otherwise. They have made it unequivocally clear that they feel only represented by those who reject the occupation and promise to fight it. Meanwhile, let the “world” continue to delude itself. Next year Jerusalem!

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