Tuesday, March 28, 2006

More of the same: Palestinians see no change in Israeli elections

In the face of grim political prospects and ever-increasing physical and economic isolation, Palestinians in Gaza are reacting to the Israeli elections with indignant apathy.

Many see the outcome as a given, and consider the front-running Israeli parties to be essentially two sides of the same coin (even the number of seats won by Liberman's radical Yisrael Beytenu came as no surprise to most).

Abu Diyab Abu al-Awf, 72, lives in the al-Bureij refugee camp in eastern Gaza. "Each of the candidates is worse than the next as far as Palestinians are concerned," he said. "The only difference is, some are stronger and make certain pragmatic decisions, and some don't."

But ultimately, Abu al-Awf believes, "none has the interests of the Palestinians, or of a just peace, in mind".

Rami al-Mugheiri, a 31-year-old editor, said: "Past experience has taught us not to expect much from Israeli elections. Whatever leader will come to power, the most we will get is tough lengthy negotiations that mainly concentrate on marginal issues."

By way of example, al-Mugheiri referred to the elections in 2000, when Israelis voted Ehud Barak's Labour party into power. Barak was "nevertheless intransigent regarding the Palestinians' right to return, Jerusalem, and continued settlement expansion", during the Camp David talks.
Palestinians believe that any new Israeli government, even a Kadima-Labour coalition, will inevitably continue the policy of unilateralism and imposed solutions established by Sharon. That would make a negotiated settlement and a Palestinian state impossible, they say.
As one political analyst explained, the elections are not irrelevant to Palestinians, rather the loss of interest is attributable to the Palestinians' preoccupation with their "harsh realities and daily living", which have rendered the elections outlandish to them.

Palestinians, he said, "are convinced that there is no qualitative or real difference between Israeli political parties", which they see as vying with each other to torment Palestinians, deny them their rights, and steal their land. "So the bulk of the Palestinians do not think there is anything worthwhile that can be expected from the Israeli elections."

For more, see my article for Aljazeera here.


Blogger umkahlil said...

"Indignant apathy"

Great for explaining paradox! Nice turn of phrase.

12:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an optimistic bunch of people.

12:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe you should tell them what they have to be optimistic about Z...

12:47 AM  
Blogger Moses said...

I've been saying for years to my more liberal friends who were hoping (say) for a Labor victory in the election that gave us The Bulldozer it matters little to the day to day =Occupation= and the misery of Palestinians under occupation.

Fun fact: Barak built more settlement housing than Bibi

1:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am thrilled that Kadima won the election. I support Kadima's resolve to keep the wall up and in place, to remove settlers from occupied Gaza, and to close Israel's borders to Palestinians. Why do you think that another country should provide your citizens with work? Find your own jobs rebuilding your own country and keep your terrorist bombers out of Israel, hopefully forever. No sympathy from me. None at all.

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Indignant apathy"? There has already been a response from one Palestinian faction: a 122mm rocket, a "Katyusha."

An actual weapon of war.

War = end of Gaza.

Will Hamas be able to clamp down on "rogue" elements among the Palestinians, or will they seek outright war with Israel? Apathy is not an option.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We never looked for your sympathy
we are far better than to look for symphathy from people like you.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, The Palestinians and Hamas are scared to death of the prospect of having Israel declare their borders, move their people into them, and wipe their hands clean of the Palestinians. No more claims of occupation. No more claims of fighting resistance. As has been seen in Gaza, your true colors will shine through. You are scared of independence. Hamas is not ready to run a country than cannot claim that the blame falls some-where else. You'll have to form your own economic structure and can't scream foul when Israel shuts itself down to you. Yeah, lack apathy is not surprising. It really is complete and utter fear that Israel and Olmert might actually do what he says, and all your excuses for failure will fly into the wind.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good post tony.
And the Rocket that fell in Israel (122 MM Katyusha - like the ones used in South Lebenon by Hezzbulla) Is just another indication that not just that they don't want peace but that they are doing everything they can to try and excelate the violance, and force Israel back in to Gaza.

3:28 PM  
Blogger Moses said...

Lieberman and Eitan: some hope.

Israel really is going the way of apartheid-era South Africa.

Google "laager mentality"

3:52 PM  
Blogger Moses said...

The Afrikaners wanted their own white state, even as it was clear history was putting apartheid into the dustbin. Thank God more rational heads prevailed.

A better idea? Hmm. How about one person, one vote, regardless of race, tribe or religion?

"Actually, Lieberman wants to have a white State for the whites and a black State for the blacks"

How far do you think Lieberman would get in Europe or the US with that platform?

5:26 PM  
Blogger Laila said...

do you mean something along what Rachel Shabi might be suggesting here(at the end):


"[O]ptimism about the Israeli election is misplaced and...[the] obituary of rightwing expansionism premature...But yesterday's election results do demonstrate an appetite for change. Put the Arab and Arab-Jewish parties' combined win together with that of the anti-occupation party, Meretz, and you get 14 seats. Add those to the Labour party win, and you have 34 seats.

Clearly, a sizeable proportion of the Israeli population voted yesterday for a settlement withdrawal that goes beyond Kadima's watery proposal."

Except I'm still as always weary of Labor

5:31 PM  
Blogger Laila said...

Umkahlil: I have to thank Khalid for that one ... I had indignanance and apathy, and after talking to him on the phone, he suggested combining the two :) always one for words that khalid

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't know about "laager mentality" but after reading some of these comment threads I have "LAGER mentality".

Heineken anyone?

6:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nor should you see change. So long as the majority among you supports and approves of killing our children, you will see no change.

7:09 PM  
Blogger umkahlil said...

My two favorite journalists working together have provided a great example for my literature students!

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For my comments on Israeli election results, see http://jerusalemmink.blogspot.com/

11:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shaggy,normally I just ignore your comments,but just for this time:
You have no idea whatsoever what your talking about,your just like a blind in the dark.
Like a parrot just repeat whatever your hear.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shoot a young girl and it is OK because he was an israeli soldier?
She might have a gun? she might have a rock? she might be in the wrong place at the wrong time?
Sounds like the US under pres. Bush.

7:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you get dumber every day.
Why don't you go to palestine and help them out?
Go become a marder, die in the name of palestinians. You talk the talk, let's see if you can walk the walk.

3:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Typical Conservative response. Just like Bush.
Lie and insult. Repeat and repeat again. Keep repeating until everyone thinks it is the truth.
In the west we only get the Conservative-bent side of the story. There happens to be another side of the story we don't get.
With your responses the other side becones more of the truth. Keep it up and eventually the whole world will hate you.

5:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wat you talk her is no ggod. Israelski no good 4 Palestin, for izrealik does bad, bad, this is good?

11:33 AM  

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