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A Free and Fair Palestinian Election?

By Michael Freund
1/16/2005, 12:00 AM

Imagine that – it now turns out that the Palestinian elections held last Sunday, January 9, under the not-so-watchful eyes of former US President Jimmy Carter and European election observers was little more than a sham.

Though Carter and others were quick to hail the vote as a “free and fair election”, the Palestinians’ own election organizers now admit otherwise.

46 officials from the Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC) resigned en masse yesterday, citing threats, intimidation, abuse and outright fraud on the part of supporters of newly-elected PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen).

Armed gunmen reportedly stormed the CEC’s office on election day, demanding that thousands of Palestinians who were not registered to vote nevertheless be allowed to do so. The CEC complied, and also was forced to extend the voting by two hours to allow more of Abbas’ supporters to get to the polls.

Baha al-Bakri, one of the two heads of the CEC who quit, said that on the day of the balloting, "We were visited by senior officials from Abu Mazen's campaign," he said. "Our personal lives were at risk."

Al-Bakri’s colleague, Ammar Dweik, who served as Deputy Chairman of the Commission, said, “I was personally threatened and pressured.”

Hence, once again, the gap between the Left’s wishful thinking and the Palestinian reality is laid bare for all to see.

Abbas_cartoon_2 Abu Mazen and his supporters manipulated the election and its results, cheating their own people of a unique opportunity to express themselves freely and fairly at the polls.

But don’t expect much of an outcry over this, because as the decade since the Oslo Accords has made quite clear, those who support the Palestinian cause won’t let facts get in the way of their agenda. And so, the farce continues.