Wednesday, March 14, 2007

'Al Hayat' accuses the Palestinian factions of undemocratic practices and neglecting the West Bank

A Good Article
Contributed by Lucia

"Ramallah - Ma'an - The editor-in-chief of the Palestinian daily 'Al Hayat', Hafiz Barghouthi, has published in today's edition a strong criticism of the Palestinian factions, in which he accuses the factions of abusing democracy and neglecting the West Bank.

In his article, Barghouthi said that what is delaying the formation of the Palestinian unity government, and what was the reason for the internal fighting, was not political differences but the absence of democracy within the factions. He said that these factions claim that they are adhering to the results of the Palestinian Legislative Council elections in 2006, and speak about democracy; yet these same factions never accept criticism of themselves. He also accused these factions of not practicing democracy internally, saying that they do not discuss issues in a democratic way within the factions themselves, and consequently they are not democratic factions.

Barghouthi went on to say that the factions are dealing with democracy in a partial way; they use it when it serves their interests only. He added that the internal fighting is because of the criteria and over particular governmental posts or portfolios. He stated that this way of dealing with democracy has frustrated the national project. The factions have become commercial projects and commissions, he said. Barghouthi accused the factions of "turning the national project into a project for employment and posts."

Barghouthi also highlighted the different approaches taken by the factions in regards to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. "We can see that Fatah and Hamas are dealing with the West Bank as if it is Bangladesh when it was united with Pakistan," Barghouthi said. "The West Bank is politically and economically ignored and is not receiving what it deserves from jobs and government posts. Hamas succeeded in making Palestine as if it is only the Gaza Strip, and succeeded in making the Strip only Hamas. They have marginalized the West Bank."

"Speaking about this subject might be painful but partnership never meant between the factions only, it means all the people," Barghouthi said, "and it never meant part of the country, it means the whole country."

Barghouthi expressed his concern that taking the Palestinian issue to this level deprives the factions and their leaders from being creative. He said it also means that the faction leaders pay more attention to the interests of their factions than to the country. He added, "In this case, it seems that the leaders of these factions do not deserve to be leaders as they have proved their failure."

He added, "The Palestinian issue has never been humiliated like this in the last year."

Furthermore, Barghouthi suggested that the Palestinian arena is "ready to have a new faction". He said that "this should be a new current from both the main factions and include the wise men from the two factions who deal and look at the country as one unit, not two units."

Barghouthi added, "We been watching the factions and we have ensured who in these factions is a nationalist and who is religious and who is serious; that is why we don’t need more time to clarify things." "

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