Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

It sounds so good, but it's not coming from the man with control of the guns

Mahmoud Abbas, who has always been viewed as something of a moderate (if that term actually has meaning on this context) has announced an interest in political compromise with Israel:

"Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas called on Tuesday for his people to pursue negotiations instead of violence in the struggle for a state, marking out a change of strategy for peace with Israel after Yasser Arafat's death. "
It sounds great, until you realize one thing: he has no real power. The article buries that important fact, which it only reveals about halfway through.
"Abbas, who took over as head of the Palestine Liberation Organization after Arafat's death, has been trying to court the militants for a possible future political coalition. But Hamas, which with a group from Abbas's own dominant Fatah faction carried out Sunday's attack, rejected his call to abandon arms. "I believe the consensus of the Palestinian people contradicts these statements," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. "The strategies of the Palestinian people should be discussed through a serious and comprehensive dialogue." Hamas has called for a boycott of the presidential election and a low turnout could damage the credibility of Abbas if it comes to disarming militants."
As long as the militants enjoy their bloodshed, nothing will change. On a different point, can someone explain to me why someone's voluntary boycott of an election weakens the results? If people don't want to vote, they don't have to. The invalid elections would seem to me to be the kind where people are either prevented from voting (witness the physical violence the preceded the disputed Ukraine election), or who are forced to vote (didn't every Iraqi citizen used to vote and, by coincidence, didn't they all vote for Hussein?). Regarding the last, it reminds me of Henry Ford's apocryphal line about his Model T that "You can paint it any color, so long as it's black."