Saturday, December 16, 2006

Election under Fire

Palestinian Authority Chairman calls for new elections within the PA:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in a Saturday speech to officials and journalists in Ramallah, declared that he intends to move up elections for the Palestinian Authority. Abbas said that calls for moving up both presidential and general elections, in order to get out of the current bottleneck. "The people are the source of our authority," he said. "I will return to the people in and let them decide." He will decide on a date along with the elections committee. Nonetheless, Abbas left a loophole for Hamas, by repeatedly mentioning the old idea of a unity government.

In an implicit call for renewed talks on a unity government, Abbas noted Hamas' changed stance on the prisoners document: "After Hamas said that the prisoners' document was treachery, and called it an Israeli and American document, now they're insisting upon (adhering to) it." "We have no problem with the document. We see the document as important for a unity government, but (Hamas) must decide once and for all where they stand," he emphasized.

He also emphasized the importance of Hamas to accept international demands from the Palestinian government, including recognition of previous agreements with Israel, highlighting that one such agreement, the Oslo accords, is part of the mechanism that allowed the Hamas government to run for election in the first place.

Senior Hamas officials rejected Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' declaration, claiming that Abbas has no legal authority to dismantle the government, and as such, his decision is illegal.

Of course, threatening to have an election and actually holding one are different things. By all accounts, it will shape up to be an election held under guns; which will offer Jimmy Carter another opportunity to find a spotlight with his name on it. The Bush Administration will have another venue to flush good cash down the drain in the act of propping up their preferred candidate and his party.

But stop and pause for a minute and think about the implications of the West Bank going the way of Gaza. No matter who wins, I just cannot imagine all those armed Fatah/Hamas supporters going into that good night without their guns loaded and blazing.

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