by A. E. SOUAIAIA
When all other excuses failed, the Bush administration pulled the trump card: the invasion of
In 2007, the
These setbacks point to flawed logic and serious contradictions: democracy is not the universal value hungry people or peoples under occupation desire; if democracy is a universal value it should not need to be served on top of a tank; and if democracy is universal, its fruits ought to be universal too and ought to be accepted by the believers in the democratic process.
The collapse of the Palestinian democratic government must be the single most significant event since the invasion of Iraq; an event that marks the collapse of Bush’s hyped idealism and the reaffirmation of Arab dictators hyped realism.
The Palestinian election was by far the best example of transfer of authority through election the Arab world ever experienced. To paraphrase
Instead of rewarding peaceful transfer of power, the
The implication of these events is that, Abbas has ultimately joined the club of Arab rulers who disregard the will of their people and act as legislators, executives, and judiciaries by the stroke of the pen. Just like all other Arab rulers, Abbas can now dissolve governments, ignore the constitution, bypass the parliament, and manipulate the courts all in the name of emergency or martial laws. As suggested by the
“Before going on, I want to stress that, in effect, a National Unity Government with a compromise platform along the lines of
The Western support of a temporary emergency government in the West Bank in the face of a Hamas-controlled
Short of any just and fair political settlement and an end to occupation, the situation may turn into a crisis. It is very unlikely that the indecisive Abbas can reach a deal with the utterly unpopular Israeli prime minister through the mediation of an overwhelmed Bush administration. When considering the fact that the peace process stalled primarily because of the status of Jewish settlements in the West Bank (now in the hands of Fatah) and the fate of Palestinian refugees, it is highly unlikely that a comprehensive deal can be reached with the combination of these political players even if the economic situation for Palestinians improves.
By supporting a parallel Palestinian government whose control over Gaza is doubtful under these circumstances, the West (1) implicitly encourages Arab leaders to continue to rule without popular mandate, (2) discredits the secondary premise under which it invaded Iraq (spread of democracy), (3) casts doubt over its commitment to representative governance in the Muslim world, (4) gives credence to the claims that the West will never allow or tolerate true democracy if such a process were to bring unfriendly forces to power. In the end, the West’s double standard feeds the Arab dictators appetite for tyranny and despotism and radicalizes the Muslim masses that would other wise play by the democratic rules. Given these developments, it is likely that, before the end of his term, President Bush will see all his democratic “experiments” (in