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Home arrow Palestinian Elections arrow The Palestinians' democratic choice must be respected
The Palestinians' democratic choice must be respected PDF Print E-mail
Jan 27, 2006 at 12:00 AM
The excuses given for refusing to deal with Hamas will not wash. This is a chance for Europe to have an independent role.
by Jonathan Steele [The Guardian, January 27, 2006]

“Hamas’s triumph in Wednesday’s Palestinian elections is the best news from the Middle East for a long time. The poll was a more impressive display of democracy than any other in the region, outstripping last year’s votes in Lebanon and Iraq both in turnout and the range of views that candidates represented.

Whereas in Iraq parties that opposed the occupation had to downplay or even obscure their views, Palestinian supporters of armed resistance to Israel’s expansionist strategies were able to run openly. It is true that Hamas candidates did not make relations with Israel the centrepiece of their campaign. They focused on reform in the Palestinian Authority. But few voters were unaware of Hamas’s uncompromising hostility to occupation and its record in fighting it.

Wednesday’s election was remarkable also in owing nothing to Washington’s (selective) efforts to promote democracy in the Arab world...”

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In Rachel Corrie verdict, Israel deals new blow to international law
The verdict on the 2003 killing of Rachel Corrie absolved Israel of any wrongdoing, essentially blaming the victim for her death. The trial revealed Israel’s approach to the most fundamental principles of international law, and especially to the duty to protect non-combatants.

By Jeff Halper

For those who hoped for a just verdict on the death of Rachel Corrie, the American student and ISM activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza in 2003 as she was defending a Palestinian home about to be demolished, this is a sad day. Not surprising, but still sad and bitter. The judge who decided the case, Oded Gershon, absolved the army of all blame, despite massive and internally contradictory testimony to the contrary. Moreover, he essentially blamed Rachel for her own death, commenting that a “normal person” would have run away from the bulldozer rather than confront it.

Palestinians and Israel human rights activists have learned that justice cannot be obtained through the Israeli judicial system. The Haifa District Court, in which the trial was held, could not have ruled other than how the state wanted. For the past 45 years of Israeli occupation, the Supreme Court has excluded from its rulings all reference to international humanitarian law and to the Fourth Geneva Convention in particular, which protects civilians living in conflict situations and under occupation. Only Israeli law applies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories – military law and orders – and the courts have restricted even that form of law by declaring that in instances of “security,” they defer to the military. As in Rachel’s case, the IDF thus has carte blanche to commit war crimes with impunity, with no fear of accountability or punishment.

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