Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority continues to descend into chaos
It is considered certain that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will not recover from his stroke on Wednesday. The Israeli parliamentary elections of 29. Marz are not to be brought forward, but overall the situation plunges the country into uncertainty. The Palestinians, however, see their election preparations as more influenced by their own problems.
Since his amption of the office of prime minister, Sharon has pragmatized Israeli and Palestinian politics. Against opposition from his Likud party, he pushed through the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza last summer. He met internal criticism only recently by leaving Likud and founding a new party, Kadima. It is tailored to him and members seem hopeless at the moment. The Likud has also been weakened and is moving even further to the right under party leader Benjamin Netanyahu. The liberal Labor Party, under its new leader Amir Peretz, is regaining its own profile after long years of pandering to Likud, but does not have much time before March.
As a result, many Israelis fear an unclear election outcome and similar unstable governing coalitions as in recent years. However, a new poll predicts Kadima will have a majority in the elections even without Sharon. The successor to Sharon, Ehud Olmert, who is also the head of the cabinet until the elections, has his back strengthened.
Palestinian reactions to Sharon’s condition
Expressions of joy over the Israeli prime minister’s serious illness have not yet been seen in the Israeli-occupied territories. But no one is saddened by the omission of Sharon, known to Palestinians as "Slaughterer". In 1982, Israeli-allied militias under the supervision of the Israeli army massacred 3.000 inhabitants of the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in Lebanon. Scharon war damals Generalstabschef und wurde nach heftigen israelischen Demonstrationen seines Amts enthoben. "We sympathize with Sharon," Saeb Erekat, head of the Palestinian negotiating team, commented Thursday, "but only on a humanitarian level."
Sharon, after taking office in 2001, called Palestinian President Yasser Arafat an "obstacle to peace". But when the latter died in November 2004, he also refused to hold serious talks with the current president, Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinian leadership now regrets Sharon’s failure, but only because his successor in the cabinet, whether Olmert or Netanyahu, will be no better.
The Palestinians also held new elections for their parliament as early as the 25th. January and for the first time in ten years. "Our elections will not be postponed because of Sharon’s condition," declared President Abbas. A change of date is nevertheless not unlikely. The ruling Fatah party is divided. Moreover, a large part of the population is very dissatisfied with their government’s performance in the last ten years.
Fatah enters elections with only one list after long dispute. And the current leadership is only marginally represented on it. Postponing the election, however, would enable them to remain in office. Various militias in the Gaza Strip, linked to old and new Fatah cadres, repeatedly attack structures of the autonomy authority or the election commission. In addition, foreigners are repeatedly kidnapped in order to extort the release of fellow campaigners or to express displeasure about the composition of district electoral lists.
"We do not deny that the weakness of the autonomy authority is the reason for the conditions in Gaza," said President Abbas. However, there are also many who say that some Fatah leadership members themselves are instigating the chaos to create a pretext for postponing the elections. A kidnapper of British Kate Burton, who works for the Palestinian human rights group Mezan in Gaza and was kidnapped with her visiting parents for more than two days in late December, was arrested but released a short time later.
The Palestinian police would not comment on the freilang. "But it is obvious that the Fatah militia simply kidnapped someone else in these uncertain times in order to free the kidnapper," the staff member of a human rights organization told Telepolis. "After all, the police can hardly protect their own stations and a few select places. In any case, it does not exercise overall control."Often, however, police officers themselves are the kidnappers, in order to extort salary increases or demands in this way. However, some police units have protested in recent weeks. The lack of ammunition even endangered their own safety, not to mention their duty to protect the population.
Militias of Fatah and Islamist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad are better rested. They have been bombarding Israeli border areas with rockets for several weeks now. The self-made projectiles hit mostly nothing and hit very often in the Gaza strip itself. Israel responded to the threat, however, by reoccupying the northern Gaza Strip. The Palestinian population has been ordered to leave the area. The air force flies attacks every day.
Fatah unpopular, but often smaller ubel
Because of the chaos and the announced Israeli obstructions of the Palestinian parliamentary elections in East Jerusalem and other places, a part of the autonomy authority is for the postponement of the elections. Fatah reformers and all other organizations, however, are calling for the vote to be held on 25. January, as well as the international community.
Even the U.S. is putting prere on Israel to hold the elections, despite the participation of the Hamas movement. The internal Palestinian chaos is expected to stabilize, regardless of the outcome of the elections. A co-governance of Hamas and the Fatah base, which has so far been left out in the cold, would restore the possibility of decision-making and put an end to internal fighting.
Poll on Palestinian election results
Palestinian parliamentary elections to be held this time on German pattern. Half of the 132 deputies are elected through national lists, the other through constituencies. A survey conducted by the reliable Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) on January 31 found that. December the victory of the ruling Fatah movement at the national level. 43 percent of the voters intend to vote for the Fatah list, which is headed by Marwan Barguti, who is imprisoned in Israel. 25 Percent Want to Vote for the List for Change and Reform (Hamas). And 19 percent are still wavering. A number of smaller organizations are also running for election.
However, according to the survey, Hamas candidates will win the most seats in the constituencies, namely 19. Fatah to receive 18 here. The poll results for the constituencies are very uncertain, said PSR director Khalil Shikaki. Nevertheless, a trend could be identified. "The results show that the Palestinians favor Fatah positions at the national level," Shikaki told the radio. For the constituency lists, however, it is clear that Fatah candidates suffer from the fact that their movement is the autonomy authority. And for the majority of the population, this is tantamount to corruption and mismanagement. Thus, although they want to be politically governed by Fatah, they want to be administered by Hamas.
The situation in Israel is unlikely to have much effect on the Palestinian election results. "It’s not like Sharon was the problem," says housewife Asisa Schehadeh in Ramallah. "Whether on the left or the right, every Israeli government so far has extended the occupation over us."