First Tripoli, Then Ramallah? The Arab Spring and Palestinian Democracy

(Weekly Standard) Elliott Abrams - With the advent of the Arab Spring, several former Arab tyrannies (Egypt, Tunisia, now Libya, perhaps Syria next) have thrown off dictators and are, or will be, moving toward elections. And in Jordan and Morocco, the kings have announced new constitutional arrangements that move powers to elected officials. In every case, it is understood that free elections are central. And then there is the Palestinian case. Palestinians therefore face, and face us with, an interesting situation: Just as they are about to go to the U.N. to demand recognition, they are farther from free elections than they have been since the day Arafat died. The Palestinian parliament does not meet much less hold any authority. There are no elections, much less fair ones. Abbas rules by decree. The United States and the EU should be demanding elections, so that there is a legitimate government in Ramallah. Neither the United States nor the Quartet said one word criticizing that cancellation, again, of local elections. But the flimsy excuses offered by Abbas should be rejected flatly, and elections for the presidency and the parliament should be held within six months. Can it be the policy of the United States that autocracy is intolerable in Damascus, Tripoli, Cairo, and Tunis, but just fine in Ramallah?

2011-08-26 00:00:00

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