In a sign of the ripple effect that the Egyptian Revolution is having on its neighbors in the region, virtually the entire rump PA government resigned and Mahmoud Abbas called for new elections. It’s rather comic because he has had the opportunity to do this since 2006 and only chose now to do so. Abbas also chooses to hold an election without the participation of his chief rival, Hamas. The latter refuses to participate in an election while Fatah has refused efforts to reconcile and restore a unified Palestinian government.
This will essentially be a one party election and the West Bank will be a one party rump state. So much for real democracy. Abbas is runnin’ scared that the Egyptian model might be embraced in Palestine. This reminds me of the tribe that believes it must appease the volcano god by tossing a maiden into its maw. This is cosmetic surgery, designed to fool Palestinians and the rest of the world into believing that Fatah is the democratically elected representative of the people. But how can it be when it will have virtually no competition?
Saeb Erekat’s resignation is a further indication of the failure of Peace Process 1.0. Any such process predicated on maximum Palestinian flexibility and minimum Israeli concessions along with a mediator heavily tilted toward Israeli interests–that is dead.
On a related matter, the Obama administration, with its announcement that it would proudly and eagerly veto the Security Council resolution condemning settlements, seems not to have learned any lessons from Tahrir Square. The message conveyed by this veto is: we stand by our allies, even when they behave in ways antithetical to our own policies and values.
Didn’t we just dump a guy for that?
What irks me especially is the pride the U.S. State Department official takes in the fact that the U.S. continually frustrates any attempt to address the evils of the Occupation in the Security Council:
“We have made very clear that we do not think the Security Council is the right place to engage on these issues,” Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg told the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee.
“We have had some success, at least for the moment, in not having that arise there. And we will continue to employ the tools that we have to make sure that continues to not happen,” said Steinberg.
Imagine the April 6th Youth Movement bringing a resolution to the Security Council condemning Mubarak’s 30 years of venality and oppression of the Egyptian people and a similar statement from a U.S. representative boasting of our ability to game the system so troublesome matters like these are never brought up. Is this what the Obama administration wishes to be remembered for as its legacy? That we were Israel’s toady?
Let’s also not lose sight of the fact that this resolution’s wording tracks almost note for note specific U.S. policy on the settlements. So we’re placed in the incredibly awkward and lame position of vetoing a resolution that diverges not a whit from our pronounced policy against settlements. I couldn’t have thought of a way to look more stupid on the world stage. Not to mention that after we struggled so hard to appear relevant during the events in Tahrir Square, for us to recede so quickly into irrelevancy is almost heartbreaking.
The truth is that the Obama administration defends freedom and liberty up to the shores of Tel Aviv. Beyond that, we’re captive to the Israel lobby here and a set of Likudist-settler interests there.
“We have made very clear that we do not think the Security Council is the right place to engage on these issues.”
I share your confusion, Richard – I always thought that the entire point of the UN was to prevent stronger nations from preying on weaker nations.
I get the feeling that in your eyes Abbas can’t do right.
He wants to hold free elections, and it is Hamas who is putting a cog in the works and refusing to participate, and yet somehow you make it look like Abbas is wrong and not Hamas!
So what should he do? Not have elections and hang on even longer?
And have Hamas held elections in Gaza to see if the people there actually agree to the bloody Hamas takeover there where Hamas tortured and killed any opposition from Fatah?
Abbas is doing exactly as he should by holding elections, and we should all support this move.
And even I think Hamas should take part and join the democratic process, even though I have no sympathy for their ideology or acts.
Not taking part plays into the hands of the right wing Israeli government and strengthens their claim that there is no partner to peace.