January 27, 2006

Six per cent solution?

Well it was an impressive turnout for the elections to the Palestinian Authority but not among Jerusalemites. According Hind Khoury in the Guardian, only 6% of Jerusalem's Arab electorate could vote.
Yesterday just over 6% of the Palestinian electorate in occupied East Jerusalem were granted the opportunity to vote in their city in the second Palestinian parliamentary elections - a total of 6,300 out of a population of nearly a quarter of a million (including children). Yet even the lucky 6,300 - the number permitted by Israel to vote is entirely arbitrary - faced a campaign of intimidation to discourage voting.

Israel tried to score points internationally by allowing elections in East Jerusalem, while trying to choke the life out of them. As well as severely restricting the number of Palestinians allowed to vote, Israel photocopied registration lists. A refusal to give a previously issued letter of assurances that voting would not affect residency and other rights added to the atmosphere of fear.
The scale of the Hamas victory has shocked a lot of commentators but it was clearly a combination of zionist brutality and Fatah corruption and disarray that has caused what was a predominantly secularist population to turn to the islamists. It should be noted that this election was only about aspects of rule in the PA areas of West Bank, not the representation of the Palestinians as a whole. It now appears that the PLO are in talks with Hamas. Now the PLO can still claim to represent the Palestinian people, but solely? Not without Hamas it seems.

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