Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Hell of Israel Is Better than the Paradise of the Palestinian Authority

by Daniel Pipes
Middle East Quarterly
Spring 2005

In the Palestinian Authority's (PA) elections that took place in January 2005, a significant percentage of Arab Jerusalemites stayed away from the polls out of concern that voting in them might jeopardize their status as residents of Israel. For example, the Associated Press quoted one Rabi Mimi, a 28-year-old truck driver, who expressed strong support for Mahmoud Abbas but said he had no plans to vote: "I can't vote. I'm afraid I'll get into trouble. I don't want to take any chances."[1] Asked if he would vote, a taxi driver responded with indignation, "Are you kidding? To bring a corrupt [Palestinian] Authority here. This is just what we are missing."[2]

This reluctance—as well as administrative incompetence—helped explain why, in the words of the Jerusalem Post, "at several balloting locations in the city [of Jerusalem], there were more foreign election observers, journalists, and police forces out than voters."[3] It also explains why, in the previous PA election in 1996, a mere 10 percent of Jerusalem's eligible population voted, far lower than the proportions elsewhere.

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