Did you know that Mahmoud Abbas, the head of Palestinian Arabs’ Fatah faction, which (sort of) controls the Palestinian-governed areas of Judea and Samaria (aka the west bank), was re-elected?

Well, that’s what the New York Times headline says:

Mahmoud Abbas, Re-elected as Fatah Leader, Moves to Solidify Power

So that means the people voted Abbas back into power, right?

Uh….no.  Wrong.

It means that a hand-picked group of Abbas’ cronies “re-elected” him.  The people did not.  In fact, the last time Palestinian Arabs had an election to determine their leadership was 2005.  And, at that time, Abbas was elected to a four year term.  No elections have ever been held since.

Here, from the first part of the Times’ article, are the particulars:.

Under fire at home and abroad, PresidentMahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority moved on Tuesday to solidify his decade-long hold on power with a party conference that had already been purged of most of his opponents.

The carefully selected delegates wasted little time in formally re-electing Mr. Abbas as the leader of Fatah, the party that controls the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. “Everybody voted yes,” a spokesman for Fatah, Mahmoud Abu al-Hija, told reporters who had not been allowed into the conference hall for the decision.

The conference, Fatah’s first in seven years, comes as the Palestinians face economic troubles, violent clashes among competing clans and the continuing Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Critics complain that Mr. Abbas’s leadership has grown insular and out of touch. He convened the conference to demonstrate his continued grip on the Palestinian Authority and to restock the Fatah party leadership with allies.

“It represents a renewal of legitimacy; there is no doubt about that,” Nasser al-Kidwa, a former Palestinian foreign minister, said in an interview.

“It represents a renewal of legitimacy; there is no doubt about that”?

Sad to say, among Palestinian Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, Nasser al-Kidwa probably has a point, because that is about as close to legitimacy as their elections get.

So the people continue to have no say in who runs the show – not that it matters, I suppose, because it is hard to imagine a legitimate election being held there.

But this is who the world demands Israel must make peace with.


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