The Fateh hotline
As an electioneering strategy, to help come clean about their tarnished image, the Fateh party has set up a toll-free hotline which they’ve advertised in the daily papers for queries about candidates, with the tagline “we promise an answer to every question.”
I decided to give the number a shot.
“How do you propose to combat corruption and keep the streets safe?” I asked, concerned as any good citizen should be.
“What a beautiful and nice question,” a young man replied on the other line.
“Here at Fateh, we don’t deny we made mistakes. We all make mistakes. But we’re bringing in new faces. The wrongs can be rectified. Our election programme is well-known, we want to protect pluralism. And as a sign that democracy is thriving, remember that Mahmud Abbas only won by 62%, not 99% like in some countries, right? And also, freedom for all Palestinian prisoners is not just a slogan for us- it’s one of our top priorities. I’m sure you have relatives in Israeli jails…”
Me: “Er, and the lawlessness?”
Young man: “Sure, sure….chaos and weapons and the rule of law. Well, as you know, they were on Abu Mazen’s list of priorities when he ran for president. These aren’t just words, we mean it.
“Now tell me who are you voting for?”
Me: I haven’t made up my mind yet.
Young Man: “How can you not have made up your mind? There’s no time left! Isn’t the decision obvious?
[Silence, as a I contemplate the potential of outsourcing call centers to Gaza]
Young Man: Wait wait, don’t hang up, let me tell you about corruption. If a mischievous boy is alone in his house, he is bound to wreak havoc. But if his brothers are there with him, they will put him in his place. That’s how we view the parliament. All of the parties have some corruption in them. We want to include the whole family in the decision-making process.”
“We’ve been part of the struggle for liberation for 40 years now!”
“We shouldn’t take the actions of a few people to represent all of the party.”
“So we have a few rotten apples.”
Me: “I really have to go now. But thank you for taking my call.”
“Please, please. Call again with any questions, and we promise to provide an answer.”
[End of Conversation]
For more, check out my second blog installment in the Guardian this afternoon.