About the parliamentary elections in Palestine – Intifada/Athens

The astonishing victory of Hamas (Islamist Resistance Movement) in the elections for the Legislative Council of the Palestinian Authority creates a new datum for the Palestinian issue and for the Middle East territory in general. Nevertheless, we should not disremember that the fundamental aspects of the problem (occupation of the Palestinian territories, constant growth of settlements, expansion of the Wall of Shame, thousands of political prisoners, financial strangulation of the Palestinians, no prospect solution for the refugee issue witch involves 5 million Palestinians) have not been changed in any way by the election outcome.

In an effort to interpret the election’s results we should pay attention to the following aspects:

1. Possibly even more important than the result itself is the fact that for the first time there were truly free multiparty elections in an Arab country (the fact that we do not use the term state is not accidental: the Palestinian Authority is by no means the government of an independent, sovereign state, the legislative council as well has by no means the authorities of a common parliament). The successful conduct of the elections, which is admitted by the entire international observer delegations, does not only prove the political maturity and the democratic ethos of the Palestinian people. It also sets a precedent that brings the authoritarian Arab regimes in a very difficult position. It therefore confirms what was used to be said in latter times, that the national liberation of the Palestinian people will provoke a wider tide of change in the entire Arab world.

2. The reasons for the Hamas electoral victory should be tracked mostly in three issues: a) the astonishing wideness of corruption that dominated the Fatah leaded Palestinian Authority. Corruption which became even more provocative because of the tragic financial situation of the thriving majority of the Palestinian people. b) the great social care projects that Hamas provides c) the deterioration of the peace process because of Israel’s incompliance. Fatah was politically charged with a process which initiating from Oslo and reaching the Road Map has come to an obvious dead end. Separate importance has to be accredited to the general growth of the Islamic stream in global scale. Nevertheless we should not disremember that in Palestine the major issue which signifies the political developments is that of the occupation. The Palestinian issue is integrated in the general ongoing in the Middle East and the Islamic world, though always prevails its own specialness.

3. We consider extremely auspicious the fact that in conditions of extreme polarization the three lists of the progressive forces of the Palestinian society (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, coalition of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine-FIDA-People’s Party, as well as the Independent Palestine by Moustafa Bargouti) succeeded in gaining parliamentary representation. This victory creates the hope that a third way is viable for the Palestinian movement, a way who’s destination is both the national liberation and the social justice.

4. Regardless of the opinion one may have regarding Hamas (both about its ideology and its practices) it constitutes antidemocratic position not to recognize a legal and clear election result. It is indeed provocative to threaten the Palestinian people with economic strangulation (the foreign aid is merely the sole possible income, given that the Israeli blockade has completely dissolved the Palestinian economy) because the people’s choice is not agreeable to the USA and the EU. The provocation escalates by the fact that Hamas is described as a terrorist organization, whereas Israel, that has deified state terror (let us just remember the “targeted killings”), is considered a “partner for peace”.

In this crucial turn for the Palestinian issue the international solidarity is more essential than ever before. We should not only mobilize against the imminent financial strangulation of the Palestinians. As all indicate, after the forthcoming Israeli elections and with the completion of the Wall of Shame in the West Bunk, Israel will attempt to unilaterally impose borders annexing a great proportion of the occupied territories (in fact the borderline that Israel aspires coincides with the Wall path). Confronting the tenebrous potentiality of the final diktat of the fait accompli of the state terrorism and ethnic cleansing, silence is mere complicity.

Athens, 5 February 2006