Counter reality

November 24, 2016 23:12

Try this for a counterfactual. Imagine that in 2006, Ehud Olmert, the then Israeli PM, had announced that it would no longer be possible to hold elections. In the decade since then, he had remained in office, his mandate dead and his legal and moral authority non-existent. There would be international uproar. Israel would be attacked as a sham democracy. Whenever he left Israel, he would be vilified as an illegitimate leader. The attacks would be right. Israel would be a sham democracy and he would be a living, breathing example of that. In reality, of course, Israel is a model democracy, with a vibrant political culture and regular elections. But in the Palestinian Authority, no such counterfactual is necessary because that almost exactly describes the situation. No presidential or parliamentary elections have been held for over a decade since Hamas’s victory in 2006. And yet, bizarrely, it is Israel that attracts opprobrium from much of the world — while few people seem to bat an eyelid that Mahmoud Abbas has not contested an election for over a decade. The elections were ‘postponed’ yet again this week. Plus ça change.

November 24, 2016 23:12

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