Friday, November 26, 2004

Sharansky: Measure freedom, not elections

Natan Sharansky in the Jerusalem Post:

What was not understood then, or often even now, is that a non-democratic Palestinian regime will, by its nature, always threaten Israel. Non-democratic regimes always need to mobilize their people against external enemies to maintain internal stability. This is why the regime in Egypt, having lost Israel as a political enemy by signing a peace treaty, sponsors what is perhaps the most rabid anti-Semitic incitement on earth. That is also why the Saudi regime funds a Wahhabi fanaticism at home and abroad that is terrorizing our entire world. And that is why the Palestinian Authority used all the resources, not to improve the lives of Palestinians but rather to strengthen hatred toward Israel.
We should be under no illusions about the upcoming Palestinian elections. The winner of these elections, like the elections that were regularly held in the Soviet Union, will not have anything to do with democracy. The winner will be chosen well before Palestinians go to the polls.

Free elections can only be held in a free society where people can express their views without fear of being punished, let alone killed. Indeed, free elections are never the beginning of the democratic process but one of its crowning achievements.

Still, whoever emerges from the elections in January should be given an opportunity to win the trust of the free world, including Israel.

Why? We should not accept the results of the Palestinian elections for the same reason we did not accept the results of the Ukrainian elections.

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