Ramallah, March 14 – Much of the recent discussion of current affairs in Israeli media over the last week has centered on various squabbles among the parties in the prime minister’s governing coalition, and the consensus has alternated between predictions of the government completing its 4.5-year term and early elections. To which I have but one response: What are these “elections” of which they speak?
The workings and politics of Israeli administrative concerns and the dynamics of the factions in power are of course an internal Israeli matter, and it would be inappropriate for me to weigh in on it. Nevertheless, the developing news story has raised a number of important issues with ramifications for the Palestinian people, and therefore deserves at least some of my attention. The first step involves clarifying this unknown term, which appears to play a role in Israeli politics and society,but with which my advisers and I are unfamiliar.
Once we understand what “elections” is or are, we can then proceed to determine why holding “early” elections is the subject of so much talk.
Not that the term has no translation in Arabic; we Palestinians have used it to mean the process by which a dictator imposes his will on the public while claiming a popular mandate. It is a phenomenon with a venerable history in Arab and Muslim lands, and as I understand, quite a few others. But I fail to see how that institution, which should ideally be invoked perhaps once in a leader’s lifetime, has continuing relevance after it is first exploited.
Leave it to the Jews to deceive the world with their subversive use of language. No one else here in the region has ever used the term to mean anything other than a rubber stamp for authoritarianism, and here go the Zionists, usurping the very language of our traditional, repressive tyranny here in the Levant to mean something else, something that detached it from its traditional meaning and recasting it as something alien – all the while invoking “elections” as if they are practicing anything authentic. How typically Zionist.
We Palestinians often pay close attention to the Israeli political system, even if only to exploit its institutions via our proxies in the Knesset and the Third Sector. However, those folks have been of little help, as they have been unable to explain why a leader would allow any procedure that would remove him from power.
Once we get to the bottom of this, we can move on to an examination of this strange thing Israelis call “free expression.”
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