The new issue, number 9 of the "Democratic Formation in Palestine" has been issued recently containing analysis of the status of democracy in Palestine and seeking to underline elements of the process of democratic formation. The report is the product of a systematic monitoring of events drawn out from the press, information issued by government or non-government sources as well as reports by international institutions operating in Palestine.
The report conclusions consider the year 2006 as a year of great change for democratic development. The elections represent the epitome of democratic change but all that followed was fully devoid of democracy and human rights. The international community, always preaching the values of human rights and democracy, chose to disregard te democratic will of the Palestinian people and punish them for their decision.
The year 2006 also witnessed more Israeli state terrorism against innocent children and the elderly utilizing all means of destruction from aircrafts to tanks to kill hundreds of Palestinians especially in the Gaza Strip, so that now, targeting civilians has become the norm and not the exception. Each of the army’s crimes is excused as a mistake until now, mistakes form the apparent basis of Israeli army practice, the same army described as one of the most advanced in the world by the Israeli government..
The report observes that President Mahmoud ‘Abbas showed a great capability to persist and maneuver on both local and international levels in order to carry out the legislative elections. His stand was firm concerning his viewpoints and electoral program and he accepted the adoption of the detainees’ document which came about as a logical development which presented a way out of the crisis created by the widely differing programs submitted by the presidency and the government. On the other hand, the president did not take the same firm stand with regard to the worsening security situation; nor did he deal with illegal Israeli government measures against civilians and infra-structure, the abduction of ministers and representatives nor the Jericho prison incident.
In regard to the handing over government ministries the report observes that the process happened smoothly and in a refined manner, but the stages which followed the elections were not proper. The losing party tried to cling on to the sources of power in their institutions, while the winning party took advantage of all pretexts to eliminate and neutralize the centers of power which intensified stress inside the ministries. Handing over processes are not mere acts of appearance but a practical translation of the principles of peaceful exchange of authority. Contrary to all expectations the Hamas government has not shown any indications of succumbing to the pressure and has continued persistently in practicing its tasks albeit at minimum capacity.
The report focused on the security issue by outlining that security should not be regarded as legality alone, but within the context of the phenomenon of violence which is becoming widespread in various sectors and segments of society, being manifested in social violence between families and individuals, in addition to the violence in schools. All these problems need treatment on the level of the values and education and should be dealt with in a civilized manner that aims at rendering violence an unacceptable phenomenon within Palestinian society.
There is no doubt that 2006, especially its last third was full of violence, chaos and an absence of the Rule of Law. It can also be described as the year of disorder, internal fighting and aggressions against public and private properties in addition to being the year of censorship against freedom of speech, assassination and kidnapping. It was a year that witnessed a decline in Palestinian ethics and morality and has thrown a dark shadow upon the long history of Palestinian struggle changing the image of Palestinians from a people who have struggled for years to one of a people without civilization or ethics. All parties should be held responsible for that, in particular the leaders who failed to lead properly and the groups that practiced violence neglecting the laws and controls and spoiling average individuals’ lives.
With regard to the PLC, the report deems it difficult to pass negative judgment on their performance, having been targeted by the occupying forces, and having many of its members arrested. This had a negative effect on its legal performance and even its ability to reach a quorum. Therefore the PLC was unable to do much to monitor, pass legislation or keep abreast with internal political issues. In light of all these circumstances innovative mechanisms should have been adopted to allow the PLC to deal with these matters positively.