We Want Democracy as Long as Hamas Doesn’t Win

U.S. President George W. Bush reacted similarly in Washington on 26 January. “I don’t see how you can be a partner in peace if you advocate the destruction of a country as part of your platform,” he said. “And I know you can’t be a partner in peace if your party has got an armed wing.”…

bush okays hamas…said the Commander in Chief of the largest army in the world currently occupying, and helping to destroy, Iraq.

The comments made by western politicians have been the funniest in the past day or so. All of them equally hypocritical.

Condie Rice said:

“We reaffirmed the view that … you can’t have one foot in terror and the other in politics,”

Terror & Politics, a molotov cocktail for chaos. Where some people get the balls to say such a thing and actually mean it, I haven’t a clue. But needless to say I do find it quite funny that the democracy America says it’s trying to spread has now come back to bite it in the ass. The truth is democracy is the last thing America wants or needs in the region simply because if free elections were held in every Arab nation today as America claims it wants, then the outcome would be very similar to the free elections that were just held in Palestine: pro-Islamic-majority-anti-american parties everywhere. And I mean everywhere without an exception. Hence the best alternative to deter this potential outcome of the democratic process is fairly simple: chaos. Cause it, inspire it, preserve it.
Everyone is still in shock I guess over the unexpected win of Hamas in the Palestinian elections. Even Hamas itself I suppose, who has just been asked to form the next government.
Most of this shock stems from the question of “what will happen next?”. Indeed what does this win mean for Palestinians, Israelis, Americans, Europeans or even the neighborhood?
I wanted to talk more on the subject, especially since I felt that in the “after-shock” of the results people everywhere forgot just how important these elections were. They are to date the most free elections I have ever witnessed in the Arab world. More than Lebanon and Iraq combined. The voter turn out was 77%, the highest I’ve ever heard of. There are just so many interesting things about this election and what it represents. I mean all of this considering Palestine is not even a recognized or formed state to begin with. One thing to keep in mind is that unlike any other election anywhere in the world, this one truly represented the voice of the people. Putting government sponsored or corporate sponsored or what-have-you sponsored foreign elements aside, this was truly an election to behold.

But today, in the British daily the Guardian, there was an interesting piece on the issue which I felt articulated a great deal of what I already wanted to say. So give it a read. Here is an excerpt:

Wednesday’s election was remarkable also in owing nothing to Washington’s (selective) efforts to promote democracy in the Arab world. Instead, it was further proof that civil society in Palestine is more vibrant than anywhere else in the region and that Palestinian politics has its own dynamics, dictated not by outside pressure but the social and economic demands of ordinary people in appalling conditions. Providing a forum to freely express hopes and fears, debate policy and seek agreed solutions is, after all, what democracy is about.In Israel and Washington reaction to Hamas’s victory has been predictably negative. European governments should take a more sensitive view. The first watchword is caution. Applaud the process but don’t take issue with the result. While the dust settles and Hamas works out its own priorities for government, Europeans should calmly analyse why Hamas got so much support.

Palestinian Elections


  • There is a difference between Bush being the chief of the armed forces and the Republican party having a private army.

    That’s the difference between the PA having its armed forces and the Hamas having its own.

    Not that the Fatah doesn’t have it’s own armed forces which makes his statements meaningless. But if you want to point that someone is incorrect you should at least try to keep your alegories correct.

  • anonymous, unlike the U.S. Palestine does not have an official army. So it is indeed hypocritical for someone who is leading a large army into a war to dictates what constitutes a partner in peace, at least in my opinion, you are entitled to your own. thanks for the comment.

  • Was Anonymous

    The PA doesn’t have an official army, but the size of their “police” force would put to shame any other police force. But that’s all besides the point.

    In the normal course of a democracy the parties don’t have their own armies that execute their own policy without connection with the state policy. That is the main point of Bush, and of Israel.

    FWIW, I’m an Israeli (I assume it was obvious), but I do hope to read and learn more on the opinions of arabs. Maybe even have some discussions…

  • Thanks for a great post Nas!

    I think that sadly it’s all about Hamas being an Islamic political party, I wish people can see what happened like those inside do…At least that’s the case with the Arabian blogosphere which apparently has been watching too much Bush lately.


  • Shlofn, yeah it was obvious 😀

    We should however keep in mind that this is Hamas entering the political sphere of Palestinian politics as opposed to being it’s own independent group. In the same manner that Hizballah operates. Both were designed with different intents and purposes but are moving towards the same direction.

    While I acknowledge the differences you pointed out it’s not a big discrepancy given that in a democracy a party is elected and operates an army to carry out its own policies. Hamas is now elected and has itâ??s own â??armyâ? (if we want to call it that) to carry out its own policies.

    Needless to say that the current western reactions including Bush is based on the past operations of Hamas as a group and not as a political party. Politics changes many things, especially the nature of a group. They know this. They neglect it with reason.

  • Thanks for this post, Nasim. And also thanks for the link to Ali’s article. It is an excellent one. You are right, democracy has bit them in the ass.

    I would like to address Shlofn Riz’s comment regarding the Palestinian Authority’s police force whose size “would put to shame any other police force.” Perhaps the fact of the police’s large size has something to do with the pressures that the US and the Israeli governments have placed on both Arafat and Abu Mazen to monitor and police the Palestinian people internally. This police force, as far as I know, does not — nor is it capable of — resisting IDF incursions on Palestinian territories and its daily infringements of Palestinian human rights.

    I would also add the obvious point that in “the normal course of democracy” elections take place in actual States as opposed to occupied and barricaded territories.


  • Listen to this one hour Radio Show (January 26th) on the HAMAS results. Three Palestinian women and one British bloger, discuss the result from different perspective. The fact that three Palestinian women can articulate tough issues dispels a million little myths about status of women in the Arab World.

  • Didn’t try to hide my Israeliness… That’s me. since from my quick reading of Arab blogs and comments it seems like most blogospheres it is occupied with peoples who mostly agree with one another a not-necessarily-agreeing message would stand out.

    I do hope that Hamas will change its ways, but even Hizballah didn’t really took down its arms since it became a political party, it did become more concious of (ab)using it’s armed forces (whatever you want to call them). So I can’t really say that Hamas following Hizballah’s lead is too encouraging.

    Sugar, I’d be happy to read posts by those that are living in the PA, are there any?

  • Riz, of course there are, please check out the below blogs, they are the best (in my opinion which is based on regularity of posting and credibility) :

    http://www.umkahlil.blogspot.com/ (from Germany)
    http://bethlehemghetto.blogspot.com/ (from Palestine)
    http://a-mother-from-gaza.blogspot.com/(from Palestine)
    http://living-in-gaza.blogspot.com/(from Palestine)
    http://baqaacamp.blogspot.com/(from Palestine)
    http://standingwitness.blogspot.com/(from Palestine)
    http://beit-sahourghetto.blogspirit.com/ (from Palestine)

    After that you may want to check http://www.palestineblogs.net (there are some Israeli and international pro-Palestine blogs that are worthy of reading too) and http://www.palestineblogs.com

    For a weekly summary, please check my weekly posts on Global Voices, visit the below link:


    And please feel free to email me if you need to ask about anything.

    P.S sorry Nas 😀

  • Dana, I had a few paragraphs to put your comments about the PA police in a different light, but the whole issue is besides the point.

    The original point Nass was making was that the American president is hypocritical because he says that Hamas can’t be accepted since it has it’s own armed forced, while he (Bush) is the chief commander of the armed forces of the US.

    I’m only saying that this is not hypocrisy because it’s a different beast altogether. I do not say that Bush is not hypocritical in other points, only in this point.

    And compared to other states that are not in a “occupied and barricaded territories” the palestinians had a democratic elections. How many Arabs have this luxury?!

    With all the shouts and screams of Arabs on Israel, the Arabs under Israeli rule (either in the PA or Israeli Arabs) seem to have a better state compared to their fellows in Arab states. This is now much less true for the Arabs in the PA, but I believe it was so at least when not in active Intifida.

    Ofcourse, I could also be wrong about this…

  • I would though would like to retract some former words of mine, that the blogosphere is mostly filled with like minded individuals. I have read a few more blogs and there are peoples of different opinions, which is why I also said “mostly”.

    The discussions are definitely more interesting when there are contrarian views.

  • Thanks for the clarification, Shlofn. I believe, however, that I understood the comparison that Nasim was using clearly. My comment to you was in reference to your questioning of the size of the PAâ??s police force.

    It is important that you refer to individuals who live in the West Bank and Gaza as Palestinians. Also, individuals of the 1948 regions who have become Israeli citizens take â?? as you are well aware â?? great offence in being referred to as â??Israeli Arabs.â? I say all this because there have been many attempts since 1948 to instil the idea that those who existed in the region prior to the establishment of the state of Israel were Arabs in order to facilitate their expulsion into other Arab states.

    Since no one is questioning the value of these democratic elections â?? except perhaps Bush at this point â?? your question regarding the â??luxuryâ? of elections and the lack of democratic elections in other Arab nations is far too simplistic.

    Again, please do not compare the status of other Arab nations who live within clearly defined borders and recognized states with those of the Palestinians. The comparison is not a fair one as it ignores the debilitating role that Israel has played as an occuyping and colonizing force.

  • Riz, most probably it’s being held for moderation. Anyway, feel free to email me and I will send you links.

    Nas, I’m terribly sorry for diverting the subject of your post.

  • Dana,
    No, I’m not aware that anyone takes offense from being called Israeli Arabs, but it seems strange that they would. They are Arabs as far as I know, and they are Israelis at the same time, I’d like to know by what terms “they” want to be called. At least according to your opinion.

    I also disagree with your point about not comparing the status of Palestinians with that of Jordanians, or even the Palestinians in Jordan, or Lebanon or wherever. I think that comparisons are good, mine might be somewhat wrong, but that’s where the discussions come into play, to light the wrong sides. Preventing the discussion in the name of some “unfairness” would prevent any discussion.

    FWIW, I do not claim that because the palestinians are/were in a better position compared to their folks in Lebanon for example, means that we can continue to opress them. But a one sided view from the opposite side is not correct either. The objective truth, assuming there is one, is somewhere in the middle. And any peace process (or discussion) should strive to find a middle point with which all can peacefully co-exist.

  • Shlofin,

    In order not to dominate Nasâ?? blog, if you would like further readings as to why Palestinians of 1948 do not wish to be referred to as â??Israeli Arabsâ? by Israelis or other Arabs, please email me and I would be happy to recommend some. As far as I know from my Palestinian friends who have Israeli citizenships, they refer to themselves as Palestinians (while adding that they are holders of Israeli citizenships). That, I believe, makes it clear that they are citizens of the State of Israel without erasing the fact of their Palestinian identity and distinguishing them from Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

    I did not prevent the discussion regarding your comparison of the status of Palestinians with other Arab peoples. I only said that your comparison ignores the simple fact of Israelâ??s occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people.

    I could not agree with you more regarding the need for a discussion. But that discussion must not occur in a historic vacuum where Israeli atrocities and injustices towards the Palestinian people are suddenly dropped from the equation and where democractic action is assumed to be a postive — albeit inadvertent — effect of life under Israeli rule and hegemony.

  • I agree with the author that both the American and Israeli politicizing displayed a flawed moral double standard after landslides election victory that brought Hamas to driving seat in Palestine. Americans cannot say that they are in a noble mission to spread “democracy” in the Arab world and then press the panic button once democracy brings an election result different than they would have liked.

    Mukhtar Ainashe
    Washington, DC
    United States


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