The Jade Monkey

I didn't have a superiority complex until inferior people gave me one.

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Location: San Antonio, Texas, United States

1.09.2005

I'm less and less convinced this is much of an improvement

But Mahmoud Abbas has been victorious in this weekend's Palestinian election for president.

I'm troubled that the media, and with it governments around the world, may already be revisiting the same failed strategy of strengthening Arafat, a strategy which Natan Sharansky lucidly eviscerates in his book, The Case for Democracy.

RAMALLAH, West Bank - Mahmoud Abbas declared victory in Palestinian presidential elections on Sunday after exit polls showed him winning by a wide margin, giving him a decisive mandate to renew peace talks with Israel, rein in militants and try to end more than four years of Mideast bloodshed.

says the AP report (via yahoo, link above), completely ignoring that Abbas very publicly ran on a platform quite antithetical to these goals (nor do the quotes the AP provides, assumedly the most supportive they could find, give any indication that he shares these goals) , praising suicide bombers and denouncing Israel at every turn. While some of this can't but be expected if he hoped to be elected in a culture so steeped in hate, even if he truly hopes to be a peace partner, it leaves little to inspire much confidence. What's more, the AP reports on Abbas' dedication of his victory to the soul of the late, not-so-great Yasser Arafat (we'll leave aside the question of whether the terrorist even had a soul to which to dedicate victory), as if this is the most natural thing in the world and should raise no red flags.

I'll continue to hope that it can't possibly be worse than Arafat, that this must at least be a baby step, but I'm skeptical. Two things that do give me hope are the reports I heard that Hamas and Islamic Jihad (or maybe Hezbollah?) were boycotting the elections, and Bush and Sharon seem to be giving their votes of confidence to Abbas. And on the third hand, I'm less than inspired by the return of Shimon Peres (who spearheaded the Oslo debacle) and Jimmy Carter's stamp of approval. We'll see; the vote is in, but the jury's still out, as far as I'm concerned.

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