The Palestinian citizen has begun to feel resentment over what has surrounded and continues to surround preparations for the Palestinian legislative elections inside occupied Palestine. This resentment will develop into a staying away from the ballot boxes, and come election day we will find ourselves with a percentage of voters that will not give any legitimacy to the Legislative Council.
The voices of those calling for delaying the elections are rising. Most of those calling for a delay in the elections belong to Fateh, the biggest Palestinian movement, because of the internal storms Fateh is facing.
This has increased the citizen’s feeling of resentment. Everyone knows that there is no dispute among the rival Fateh groups over the agenda and that the conflict is an internal one over positions and quotas.
It is also a conflict between what is called the old guard and the generation of the future.
It is a conflict of group interests between those who want to go up and those who want to hold on to their position. Management of the dialogue and discussion over the issue of renewing the leadership and finding a suitable formula was undoubtedly a bad tool that made matters worse.
On the other hand the citizen finds that Fateh inside Palestine has not given any attention or weight to Fateh outside of Palestine. Fateh outside Palestine has an influence that cannot be underestimated in the camps outside Palestine and in the ranks of leadership (Central Committee and the Revolutionary Council), which is what caused Fateh abroad to accuse the leadership in Palestine of making decisions on its own; decisions that Fateh abroad does not consider legitimate.
This movement is led by Farouq Al-Qaddoumi (Abul Lutuf), who did not accuse the leadership in Palestine secretly but out in the open, and Abu Maher Ghuneim, who thinks that Fateh’s “lifeboat” is to bring forward the date for convening the Fateh conference, which will be able to settle matters and reunite Fateh which is worn out from divisions, disputes and the weapons’ chaos.
What is more dangerous is that Fateh still acts as if Palestine belongs to Fateh, and belongs to Fateh alone. Fateh still acts as if the decisions made by Fateh’s leadership need to be in effect and need to be abiding for all the other factions and for the Palestinian people.
This is what stirs the factions, especially the bigger ones such as Hamas, and makes them start crises once in a while to make the Fateh leadership understand that not only can they bother Fateh’s leadership, but they can make the earth shake under their feet too. This is what is happening now in the Gaza Strip. The launching of missiles from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli towns aims at rattling the Palestinian Authority and warning it, not at causing damage in the Israeli towns.
This also contributes to increasing the resentment of the citizens and their staying away from participating because what is taking place is not related to the comprehensive democratic process which the citizens aspire to and hope to participate in.
As we said the energy will come. If the Palestinian Authority decides to postpone the elections then everyone will lose their legitimacy because a 10% to 20% voter participation means that everyone lost because everyone marginalized the people and the people were pushed away by the narrow horizon and factional self-interest.
The people must be allowed to participate and must be given the opportunity to be part of decision-making that will determine their destiny and future, or else the citizen will not agree to vote and will boycott the elections.
In the end we have to say that continuing this fight over a pie that does not exist will cause the greatest harm to the national cause for which people paid dearly to get to where they are at now under the leadership of the late leader Yasser Arafat.
I wonder if what is happening now would still be happening if Arafat was alive. The question is left for the citizen to answer, because the citizen knows that Yasser Arafat used to have national figures and all the factions participate in decision-making.
The citizen knows how hard Arafat tried to have Hamas participate in the decision-making process, but Hamas at the time refused.
Arafat was Palestinian as much as he was a member of Fateh.
It appears as if his fingerprints did not leave any trace within the ranks of Fateh, but left clear traces on the Palestinian citizens, including those who used to criticize him.