Palestine and the West selective democracy

Some development buzzwords are applied selectively by development actor, Middle East in particular. Words like democracy, equality and justice were defined contradictory in the Middle East. More than 50 years, Middle East has been the territory overlapped with several political conflict, civil unrest and humanity issue which the direction towards solution remain unclear. The Palestine-Israel conflict, Iraq uncertainty post Saddam’s era ,the civil war in the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) and Yemen’s political turbulence placed millions of displaced people that were forced to migrate from their homeland into the foreign countries. There have been plenty of efforts to bring stability to the Middle East from various countries, international organizations and agencies including peace agreement initiatives, resolutions and proposals.

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Reflection of democracy process in Palestine Legislative Council (PLC) election for the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) which include Gaza and West Bank in 2006 has some valid point to establish this argument. In order to influence the political order in the Palestine – Israel conflict, the United States had spent approximately 2.3 million on support for the elections. The election was observed and monitored by international regulators and observers and this was confirmed by United Nations’ Division for Palestinian Right (DPR) of Department of Political Affairs who is responsible to develops and maintains the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine UNISPAL :

“The election was observed by approximately 20,000 national observers and 1,000 international observers, including missions from the European Union, the National Democratic Institute and the Carter Centre, and Canada. Overall, the observers concluded that the campaign took place in a relatively calm atmosphere, with an absence of provocative rhetoric. Israeli authorities generally eased travel through checkpoints to facilitate freedom of movement on election day, although candidates, campaign workers and election workers were at times unable to move satisfactorily through checkpoints during the campaign period” (UN DPR, 2006)

Prior to the election, Hamas which already labelled by the US and Israel as a militant group  was allowed to take part in the election. In the name of democracy, US was not willing to press for Hamas’ exclusion from the election process. The winner after exit polls, Hamas was denied recognition by the US and its allies to be the legitimate government.  In the post election review,  The United States Secretary of State, Mrs. Condoleezza Rice warned that “The United States wants other nations to cut off aid to a Hamas-led Palestinian Government, also ruling out any US financial assistance to a Hamas Government.” ( UN DPR, 2006). In the similar notion,The Washington Post clearly in dismay wrote :

“The election results stunned U.S. and Israeli officials, who have repeatedly stated that they would not work with a Palestinian Authority that included Hamas, which both countries and the European Union have designated as a terrorist organization”. (The Washington Post, 2015)

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The Hamas’s lead government since then experiencing siege and international blockade from basic human needs such as appropriate medical supplies and equipments, foods, electricity, and most of development funds were sanctioned. Some of elected members of Parliament and ministers were arrested while some of government leader from Hamas were prohibited to travel within Palestinian territories, Gaza and West Bank. Oxfam, a leading UK charity organization reported :

 

“The blockade prevents most people from leaving Gaza or trading with the outside world and markets in the West Bank. Fishermen and farmers are restricted from accessing their land and often shot at while working. The economy has been devastated, with more than 60 per cent of youth now unemployed – the highest rate in the world.” (Oxfam, 2015)

 

Democracy principle was contradictory defined and  people of Palestine were punished  even though their decisions were made through a democratic way. In consequence, refugee  problem became unbearable and according to Smith (2006, p.136) “Palestinians form the largest single group of refugees in the world, constituting by themselves more than a quarter of the world’s total of cross border-refugee, and one tenth of of the total number of people who have been made homeless by war.” The Middle East require genuine translation of democracy as it was perceived in other part of the world.

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