Friday, February 4, 2011

Legitimacy in Palestine

With legitimacy related unrest in the region the Palestinian Authority, ruled by Fatah, has announced plans to hold elections very soon. Protests had spread into the territories only as “solidarity protests” with the anti mubarak protestors in egypt. In Gaza Hamas allowed the “solidarity protests” to take place while in the PA controlled West bank Fatah led security forces cracked down. Hamas has many reasons to allow these protests to take place legitimacy being the most profound of them.  The Palestinian authority has moved to bolster its legitimacy, having already served long past its elected term, by calling for elections. The legitimacy of these elections being "fair" will depend on a number of issues.

1, Many of Hamas supporters in WB have been detained and subject to tribunals that prescribe little or no rights to defendants (recently 289 have been detained). If political detainees are not released it may have implications on how the legitimacy of the elections.
2, The Palestinian Commission on Human Rights stated in relation to the PA crack down on Egyptian solidarity demonstrators that "The Palestinian Authority should immediately make clear that its ‘state-building’ training of security forces does not include beating peaceful demonstrators," Without freedom to associate
 and assemble the legitimacy of elections may be affected.
3, If intimidation persists (recently PA security forces have summoned 750 Hamas supporters for interrogation) the perception of legitimacy could face pressure.
4, In the last elections the foreign countries were funding Fatah. The campaign financing will have to be transparent so as not to lend to questions of legitimacy.
5, Without neutral observers the legitimacy of the elections would be questionable.

Hamas said in a statement. “Suppression of freedoms by the Palestinian security forces, which collaborates with the occupation in the West Bank, doesn’t create a proper atmosphere for holding fair elections.”