Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Mustafa Barghouthi in the IHT
Mustafa Barghouthi writes a plea for Palestinian democracy in the interests of Palestinians and Israelis in the International Herald Tribune yesterday. It's definitely worth reading in whole, but here is a brief excerpt:
Scaremongers argue that democracy opens the door for fundamentalist groups, but a look at recent polls taken in Palestinian society should dispel these fears. They show that while Hamas would receive 23 percent of the vote, this is no more than would be achieved by Fatah, the leading group in the Palestinian Authority.
The real influence lies with the remaining plurality of voters, the silent majority who do not want to be part of this polarization. Most of them, in my opinion, would support a democratic opposition if given the chance. This is a majority whose voice for the time being is drowned out by the noise of guns and tank shells; a majority that can have a voice only if they are allowed to cast a vote. Eighty percent of Palestinians in the occupied territories are below the age of 33. They are striving for opportunity, participation and the hope of a better future....
Palestinians, like Israelis, are entitled to self-determination and democratic rights and to a homeland of their own where they can live with freedom and dignity, without an occupation, walls or checkpoints.
There is a certain simplicity in realizing that Israel can have security by accepting Palestinians as equal human beings. It is my profound belief that the only lasting peace we shall see will be that concluded between two democracies, governed by justice.