News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Israel Asked to "Okay" Palestinian Elections

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Israel Asked to "Okay" Palestinian Elections

In this morning's Washington Post, we learn that Israel is considering okaying Palestinian elections. The article notes that Israel is under US pressure to allow the election to go forward.

Why the US should have to apply any pressure at all is, of course, a question that any true believer in democracy wants to know. ...

The reasons for Israel's opposition to the election are voiced in the following remarks:

Israel had been threatening to prevent voting in Jerusalem because the Islamic group Hamas, which is committed to Israel's destruction, is running.

On Tuesday, Israel's Security Cabinet recommended that the government boycott elected Hamas representatives unless the group accepts Israel and lays down its weapons, said security officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose details.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas had said the election would be canceled if Palestinians in east Jerusalem weren't allowed to vote, but said in a televised address Monday that he had received assurances from the U.S. that Jerusalem voting would be allowed.
This explanation puts a pretty face on a very ugly fact. The Israeli government does not want democracy to flourish in the mideast. Israel considers democratic Arab or Moslem countries a threat its own security.

I covered this in a previous post, where I quoted an Israeli general who questioned the efficacy of democracy. As reported in Forward:
"I am skeptical when it comes to the supposition that democracy is a panacea. Not all democracies are good," said General Shlomo Brom, former chief of the Israeli army's strategic planning division. "What about a democracy in Egypt — let's say — which is governed by the Muslim Brotherhood? Would Egypt then have better relations with Israel than under Mubarak's regime?"
According to this General, Israel prefers regimes that exert control in a totalitarian form, with rulers obedient to Israeli and US interests. The notion that democracy should flourish in the mideast, as Pres. Bush maintains, is a quaint notion for many who run Israel.

No doubt, Israel will grudgingly buckle in public under US pressure. How it acts behind the scenes, though, is something to keep watch on.

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