A Message for Democracies: The Perils of Giving Antidemocratic Groups Access to Elections

(Wall Street Journal) Tzipi Livni - Three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped by Hamas operatives over a week ago. Hamas is a designated terrorist organization, ideologically committed to an extremist anti-Semitic, anti-Western agenda that sees the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as an endless religious war. Hamas is not pursuing a Palestinian state alongside Israel and offers no hope for peace. Hamas agreed to the recent "reconciliation" with Fatah in order to reconstitute its terrorist capabilities in the West Bank. Its desire to participate in elections while remaining a terrorist organization is meant primarily to abuse the Palestinian elections in order to gain legitimacy for its extremist objectives. Israel is not opposed to Palestinian unity for peace, or Palestinian unity for democracy. What we, and the world, should not support is Palestinian unity for terrorism. If the Fatah-Hamas agreement produces elections in which an unreformed Hamas can participate, the result will legitimize Palestinian terrorism. In 2006, an unrepentant Hamas was allowed to participate in elections and surprised many by its victory. Then, as now, Hamas sought to use the democratic process to advance a radically anti-democratic agenda. By now we all should be wiser. The price of entry in elections must include a commitment to key democratic principles such as state monopoly over the use of force, the peaceful resolution of disputes, and the renunciation of terrorist doctrines. In the absence of that, the result is to offer an unreformed Hamas the opportunity to repeat its 2006 victory. The writer is Israel's minister of justice and chief Israeli negotiator in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

2014-06-26 00:00:00

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