Despotism is preferable

The Hamas win in the Palestinian elections is causing the US and Israel to question its “belief” in democracy:

“The United States and Israel are discussing ways to destabilize the Palestinian government so that newly elected Hamas officials will fail and elections will be called again, according to Israeli officials and Western diplomats.

“The intention is to starve the Palestinian Authority of money and international connections to the point where, some months from now, its president, Mahmoud Abbas, is compelled to call a new election. The hope is that Palestinians will be so unhappy with life under Hamas that they will return to office a reformed and chastened Fatah movement.

“The officials also argue that a close look at the election results shows that Hamas won a smaller mandate than previously understood.

“The officials and diplomats, who said this approach was being discussed at the highest levels of the State Department and the Israeli government, spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.

“They say Hamas will be given a choice: recognize Israel’s right to exist, forswear violence and accept previous Palestinian-Israeli agreements — as called for by the United Nations and the West — or face isolation and collapse.”

Such an idea is hypocritical, anti-democratic and bound to explode in the faces of Israel and the US. Hamas must now prove its worth as the elected party, and if they fail, can be voted out in the next election. In the meantime, however, the West should be warned that turning its back on an elected democracy – a common occurrence in recent history – will only lead to greater radicalisation and, what Israel fears most, breaking the Palestinian dependency on the Jewish state.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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