The Palestinians' ruling Fatah Party halted its primary election across the Gaza Strip on Monday after angry gunmen shot in the air at several polling stations, stole some ballot boxes and destroyed others...The election violence highlighted the ongoing lawlessness in Gaza's streets.Why can't the Palestinian Arabs just stuff the ballot boxes like everyone else?
The Gaza primaries were expected to continue the trend started during earlier elections in several West Bank districts that swept away many entrenched old-timers, who controlled the party for decades and were seen as corrupt, and replaced them with young politicians more popular with average Palestinians.Corruption is the least of it. To say that Hamas' attraction is "in part" because of their image of honesty, is to ignore the terrorism of a group that "will not tolerate corruption and graft", but back in September blew up 17 of their fellow Palestinians--many of them children. This is the Palestinian version of squeaky-clean politics.
The housecleaning in Fatah is crucial to the party's hope of beating back a strong showing by the Islamic militant group Hamas, which has wooed Palestinians in part with its image as an honest group that will not tolerate corruption and graft.
Before the dramatic cancellation, Mohammed Dahlan, a Gaza strongman and top Palestinian official seen as a bridge between the two generations in Fatah, was greeted by scores of chanting supporters as he voted in a sports club in the Khan Younis refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, where he is a candidate.What kind of person does it take to serve as a bridge between 2 generations of terrorists? Back in 2002, Ehud Olmert wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal entitled "Israel Can't Do Business With Terrorists," back during a simpler time when we thought Sharon and Olmert were serious:
Mr. Dahlan permitted Gaza to become a safe haven for the hundreds of fugitive terrorists fleeing Israeli forces. Among those being sheltered is his childhood friend Mohammed Dief, a leading Hamas mastermind with the blood of scores of Israelis on his hands. In the meantime, Mr. Dahlan's district became the primary launching grounds for the hundreds of Kessem missiles fired at Israel.This is the new leadership that the Palestinians are cheering for.
Mr. Dahlan's involvement in terrorism has not been confined to mere nonfeasance but, rather, gross malfeasance as well. Mr. Dahlan, along with his assistant Rashid Abu-Shabak, are the primary suspects in the terror attack on an Israeli school bus in Kfar Darom in November 2000. The bombing of the bus left half a dozen children maimed, and seriously injured an American citizen, Rachel Asaroff. In response to this brutal terror attack on Jewish school children, then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak dispatched Israeli planes to strafe Mr. Dahlan's Gaza headquarters.
"We want new blood in Fatah's body. We want to say that Fatah is able to lead and to bring us our rights," said Majdi Abu Daka, a 34-year- old engineer. "We respect the old generation, but it's time to give us a chance. The world is changing and so are we."But of course the Palestinian Arabs are not changing at all. Same old thing: terrorist in, terrorist out--as long as they are held in thrall by the same mantra, and hold the same leaders in respect, the new blood Mr. Daka is talking about is not going to be metaphorical.
See also: Palestinian Democracy at the Voting Booth