Monday, December 27, 2004

 

Real Palestinian Elections

Well, there wasn't the fanfare that we saw in Afghanistan or we are likely to see with the presidential elections in Palestine or in the upcoming Iraqi elections, but elections took place in Palestine last week. With results coming in and the air beginning to clear yesterday, there are articles about the results of these local elections in the Israeli press, the European press, the Arab press. But where do we read about it in the American press? Well, there is a paragraph in the World in Brief section on page A30 of the Washington Post. Where is the Bush press conference praising the desire of a people under occupation to turn out to the polls to the tune of 81 percent (over 90 percent turnout in some areas)? How's this for an inspirational story:
Of the 306 newly elected local council members, 46 will be women. By law, two seats on every local council were set aside for women, and 21 of the new councilwomen were elected thanks to these "safe" seats.

However, 25 of the new councilwomen ran against male candidates and won, sometimes by wide margins. In Beni Zayid al-Sharkiya, northwest of Ramallah, for instance, Fatma Sahwil received more votes than any other candidate, beating out 11 men. In another town, a woman candidate received the third largest number of votes.
Pretty impressive, eh?

The problem is that the elections did not result in putting into power accommodationists who will bend over backwards to keep the US happy. But for all these reasons (high turnout, feel-good stories, legitimate results) and for the fact that these elections were actually contested by Islamist parties (who have the second largest constituency in Palestine), these will be the more important and the more democratic elections in Palestine.

Comments:
It doesn't matter what the US wants anyway. All that matters is that there is now a leadership developing which can legitimately speak for the people.
 
if only that were the case. unfortunately, it makes a world of difference what the US wants. an elected leadership is only worth what it is able to accomplish. and any palestinian leader's ability is compromised first and foremost by the israeli occupation. and the nation that has the greatest ability to influence israel (because of the massive amount of money and other forms of aid it funnels there) is the US.

all this is simply to say that if the US were actually interested in democracy (which it isn't) it would start to pressure israel in light of this most recent display of democracy in action. and the first step in pressuring this would be to draw public attention to the elections and the democracy and all that (and, as i pointed out, there are some angles that would make great feel-good stories on CNN). but it's not, and it isn't and, like it or not, that matters.
 
It certainly does matter, and it is sad that this is getting no play. Not that I pay much attention to the MSM (still probably a lot more than most, though) but I can't recall hearing a single thing about the Palestinian elections. Yesterday coverage was about equally divided between the tsunami and the post-Xmas-no-news-cycle (led by Reggie White's death). Free media - right. Screw the MSM...
 
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i was just browsing through the blog world searching for the keyword posters and it brought me to your site. You have a great site however it is not exactly what i was looking for. Good luck on your site. sincerely, antonio.
 
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