Thursday, April 15, 2021

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

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Palestinian parliamentRamallah, April 15 - Declarations by members of the party controlling the Palestinian Authority that unless their rivals or Israel make substantive changes to longstanding policies and practices, a long-delayed parliamentary contest that will likely see the ruling party fall from power will not take place as planned, have not elicited the anticipated changes that those declarations aimed to achieve, in particular the casting of that party as a confident source of leadership, party sources reported today.

Fatah, the now-dominant faction governing the autonomous Palestinian Authority in inland areas Israel vacated under a 1993 agreement, faces electoral defeat, according to recent polling, in parliamentary elections that have not taken place since 2007. Their chief rivals, the Islamist movement Hamas that staged a coup in the Gaza Strip that year and has since governed that coastal territory separately, stand to overtake Fatah in those elections, and for reasons not entirely clear to Fatah spokesmen, threats to call off the elections have not cast Fatah in the public imagination as demonstrating the swagger expected of leaders secure in their role who will attract popular support.

"It's weird - this isn't what we expected to happen," admitted Nabil Sha'ath, a longtime ally of President Mahmoud Abbas, who also serves as Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization. "We thought that the collective equivalent of threatening to resign unless we get what we want - a popular tactic among Palestinian government officials - would make us look like concerned public servants leveraging the government's public image to extract changes from the higher-ups. In fact it's had the opposite effect, namely it's made us look like a bunch of cowards afraid to face the wrath of an electorate that hasn't had a change to express its dissatisfaction with a corrupt, incompetent, short-sighted, thuggish, hypocritical, lying, repressive leadership in a decade and a half. An easy mistake to make."

Fatah stalwart Nabil Aburdeineh noted that the party had hoped to rely on Israel to provide a pretext for canceling the context and saving Fatah face, but that the Jewish State, preoccupied with its own election and post-election concerns, has so far failed or declined to play that role. "We thought Israel would come out and say, as they have many times before, that East Jerusalem Palestinians may not participate in Palestinian Authority elections," he acknowledged. "That's been our old standby for many years to avoid facing inevitable defeat. The danger to Israel's claim to exclusivity on control of the city has always been enough to spark that move on their part - but this time around they've stayed mum on the issue. What are we supposed to do - actually let people vote? That's crazy talk."

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