The Election That Didn’t Happen Matters More than the One That Did

March 23 2015

While Israelis were voting last week, the fact that the Palestinian Authority has not held elections in ten years was hardly lost on many Palestinians. Evelyn Gordon argues that—contrary to the declarations of the liberal Western media—the lack of Palestinian democracy is a much bigger obstacle to peace than the choices made by Israel’s democracy:

[A]side from the fact that [the PA’s] denial of basic civil rights is bad in general, it has real implications for the peace process. . . . If Israelis see a chance for peace and consider their own prime minister an obstacle to it, they can unseat him—an option they’ve in fact exercised in the past. Palestinians have no such option.

But the problem goes deeper than that: [Mahmoud] Abbas, now in the eleventh year of his four-year term, also lacks the democratic legitimacy needed to make the kind of concessions any peace agreement would entail. Palestinian human-rights activist Bassem Eid summed up the issue bluntly . . . : Abbas, he told his shocked audience, will never be able to make peace with Israel, because he currently represents nobody except himself, his wife, and his two sons. . . .

[I]f Western leaders are serious about wanting Israeli-Palestinian peace, working to rectify the lack of Palestinian democracy would be far more productive than wringing their hands over the choices made by Israel’s democracy. For precisely because Israelis can always change their minds again in a few years, the Palestinian democracy deficit is far more detrimental to the prospects for peace than the outcome of any Israeli election ever could be.

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Read more at Evelyn Gordon

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli democracy, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian statehood, Peace Process

The Palestinian Authority Is Part of the Problem, Not the Solution

Jan. 31 2023

On Thursday, Palestinian Authority (PA) officials announced that they had ceased all security cooperation with Israel; the next two days saw two deadly terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. But the PA has in the past made numerous threats that it will sever its ties with the Israeli government, and has so far never made good on them. Efraim Inbar poses a different set of questions: does cooperation with Palestinian leaders who actively encourage—and provide financial incentives for—the murder of Jews really help Israel protect its citizens? And might there be a better alternative?

The PA leader Mahmoud Abbas seems unable to rule effectively, i.e., to maintain a modicum of law and order in the territories under his control. He lost Gaza to Hamas in 2007, and we now see the “Lebanonization” of the PA taking place in the West Bank: the emergence of myriad armed groups, with some displaying only limited loyalty to the PA, and others, especially the Islamists, trying to undermine the current regime.

[The PA’s] education system and media continue propagating tremendous hostility toward Jews while blaming Israel for all Palestinian problems. Security cooperation with Israel primarily concerns apprehending armed activists of the Islamist opposition, as the PA often turns a blind eye to terrorist activities against Israel. In short, Abbas and his coterie are part of the problem, not of the solution. Jerusalem should thus think twice about promoting efforts to preserve PA rule and prevent a descent into chaos while rejecting the reoccupation of the West Bank.

Chaos is indeed not a pleasant prospect. Chaos in the territories poses a security problem to Israel, but one that will be mitigated if the various Palestinian militias vying for influence compete with each other. A succession struggle following the death of Abbas could divert attention from fighting hated Israel and prevent coordination in the low-intensity conflict against it. In addition, anarchy in the territories may give Israel a freer hand in dealing with the terrorists.

Furthermore, chaos might ultimately yield positive results. The collapse of the PA will weaken the Palestinian national movement, which heretofore has been a source of endemic violence and is a recipe for regional instability in the future.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror