They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Friday, January 27, 2006

Barghouthi: Israel no longer only democracy in Middle East

ramallahonline: The first press conference given by Independent Palestine head, Mustafa Barghouthi, in Ramallah today, focused on the results of Wednesday's legislative elections and their implications for the future of Palestine, and for the region as a whole.

Dr. Barghouthi, who gained a seat in the new legislative council along with fellow candidate, Rawia Al-Shawa, began by thanking all those who had supported, and voted for the Coalition, and said that he was proud to form part of the new Palestinian parliament.

He hailed the elections as a great day in the history of Palestine, and praised the Palestinian people for their determination in ensuring that elections were free and fair, and that they passed off without incident despite the many obstacles facing them, including the ongoing Israeli occupation, manifested partly through movement restrictions and limitations on campaigning and voting in East Jerusalem, as well as acute poverty and unemployment, and the threat of internal disorder.

Dr. Barghouthi stated that legislative elections were the culmination of a democratic revolution that had begun with last year's presidential and local council elections, and that Israel could not longer claim to be the only 'democracy' in the Middle East. He added that this revolution would have profound implications for the development of the democratic process in the rest of the Arab world.

He called on all Palestinians and the international community as a whole to respect election results as the will of the Palestinian people, but went on to stress that the surprisingly high number of votes gained by Hamas were in many cases opposition votes against the twelve years of corruption, mismanagement and political patronage that had been institutionalised under the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA). He added that many Palestinians had sought the sharpest possible expression of opposition in voting for Hamas.

He suggested that election results were also a signal of protest towards the international community for its utter lack of will in compelling Israel to abide by international agreements and resolutions.

In terms of Independent Palestine's future in the Palestinian parliament, Dr. Barghouthi confirmed that the Coalition would cooperate with those who share its commitment to freedom, democracy, just peace, and profound internal reform.

He stressed the critical importance of consolidating the democratic process and of establishing a government of national unity. He emphasised that the Palestinian people do not simply want to move from a one party system dominated by Fatah, to another one party system dominated by Hamas, and that all forms of political patronage and nepotism must be stopped.

Dr. Barghouthi ended the conference by once more thanking coalition supporters, and by declaring a weekly open day at PNI offices for all Palestinians wishing to discuss their needs and viewpoints with him. Link

db: Great headline