By Khalid Amayreh
Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, whose term in office had expired in January 2009, has been vowing to organize general elections in January 2010, giving the impression that these elections will be a magical cure for the many problems facing the Palestinian people and their enduring just cause.
The call for elections, however, doesn’t seem to be motivated by goodwill as the main real aim behind this gambit is apparently to outmaneuver the Islamic resistance movement, Hamas.
In fact, it is very difficult to be euphoric or even optimistic about elections held under a sinister foreign military occupation.
In 2006, Palestinians were cajoled by the Bush administration into holding general elections and were told that the polls would be a paramount task embodying Palestinian sovereignty.
True, many Palestinians eager to see a loosening of the Nazi-like Israeli stranglehold on their lives and also to see an end to the rampant corruption infesting the Fatah-led PA, accepted the idea, preferring to give the idea the benefit of the doubt.
However, even before the elections began, it was amply clear that Israel was insisting on exercising its repressive function as the occupation authorities began arresting “the wrong” candidates and brazenly interfering with election campaigns.
As we all know, the elections did take place, and Hamas won a landslide victory. However, neither Israel and her guardian-ally, the United States, nor Fatah came to terms with the democratic outcome of the elections.
Israel, as soon as the initial results showed that Hamas was having the upper hand at the ballot boxes, decided to impose draconian and vengeful punishments on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including laying a hermetic siege to the Gaza Strip and barring its 1.5 million inhabitants from accessing food and essential consumer products.
Similarly, the Zionist-controlled Bush administration bullied the entire world, with the exception of a few courageous states that wouldn’t cave in to American coercion, to boycott the democratically-elected government of Hamas.
The arrogant coalition, led by the US and directed behind the scenes by international Zionist circles, clamped a tight and suffocating financial siege on the Gaza Strip, preventing financial transactions to the coastal enclave.
The manifestly murderous siege pushed Gaza to the brink of famine and hundreds of innocent Gazans succumbed to preventable illnesses caused by the absence of appropriate medical care due to the cruel siege.
In addition, the US intelligence agencies began funding and arming Fatah elements in the Gaza Strip in order to overthrow Hamas and create a quisling-collaborationist regime that would make “peace” with Israel according to Zionist terms.
Fortunately, Hamas preempted the vicious conspiracy, forestalling a civil war that would have shed a lot of Palestinian blood for Israel’s sake.
In light, one is prompted to ask what guarantees Abbas and his aides have that Israel would allow free and fair elections to take place.
Indeed, the bulk of the Islamic-oriented candidates who won the elections of 2006 are still languishing in Israeli jails and dungeons for the “grand crime” of participating in the elections, the very elections that had been Okayed by Israel and the Bush administration.
I am talking about dozens of Palestinian politicians, people like Nayef Rajoub, Muhammed Abu Jheishe, Azzam Salhab, Nizar Ramadan, and others, who committed no violation apart from wining a seat in the Palestinian legislative council.
More to the point, it is clear that even if the Israeli occupation army, which controls every corner and street in the West Bank, didn’t interfere with the elections, which is very unlikely given Israel’s hostile fixation on Hamas, the police state apparatus now prevailing in the West Bank, would make the idea of conducting free elections not only unlikely but impossible.
We are talking about a total absence of basic civil liberties whereby political opponents are arrested, tormented and often tortured to death.
Furthermore, every conceivable political activity, even an act as simple as raising an Islamic flag, is immediately criminalized. In some cases, the “perpetrators” wouldn’t live to regret their “misdeeds.”
In fact, it is perfectly safe to claim that insistence on holding elections under these morbid circumstances reflect a malicious intent to falsify the results of the elections beforehand.
Finally, it is difficult to fathom how elections can be organized in an extremely unhealthy atmosphere in the midst of the enduring crisis between Fatah and Hamas.
There is no doubt that Hamas will not succumb to the fait accompli created by Abbas, possibly in coordination with his foreign backers, along with the Israelis, who are perpetuating the criminal siege on Gaza and preventing building materials from reaching the blockaded enclave. Needless to say, these building materials are badly needed for rebuilding homes and civilian infrastructure destroyed by the Zio-Nazi war machine earlier this year.
Unfortunately, there are clear signs that Mr. Abbas and his PLO have been active conspirers in prolonging the Gaza suffering in order to weaken Hamas in the eyes of the people.
For all these reasons, it is imperative that Hamas must not fall into the trap and reject this trick by the man who had called resistance “futile” and who voiced his willingness to compromise inherent Palestinian rights pertaining to al-Quds al Sharif and the refugees.
The Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said “A true believer shouldn’t be bitten from the same snake hole twice.”