It's interesting actually living at the heart of the matter, rather than watching it through the 29" flat screen divine provider of all information. Yesterday, here in an area of Jerusalem populated largely by Jerusalem Arabs, the directors of my work place recommended we avoid walking outside the fences of our offices today in order to avoid finding ourselves in any predicament.
As the taxi driver said to be this morning as he 'escorted' me to work, "Isn't it strange? They vote and we are frightened".
It is rather peculiar that we should be afraid to walk some streets on Palestinian election day. Israeli security officials are aware of the risks of unrest and violence and hence the very noticeable increase in police forces in and around this area. To no surprise though, there's probably more concern (reflected in intelligence reports) that election rejectionists Islamic Jihad (among others) will try to turn the heat up by murdering Jews. Why not they say? What else is there to do on election day?
What else indeed? How about taking the opportunity to take an opportunity? A little wise, constructive and forward-looking voting might do the trick. Or not.
As regular KICreaders are aware, Ashley Perry has been keeping you current for the last few weeks while I prepare for the rather daunting law exams of the Israeli Bar Association. Still, I reasoned that it might be worth my while giving a quick KICpost seeing as it's exam time for others too - and not just law students.
These vital Palestinian elections lay down the gauntlet to the world (and in particular the Europeans). They might not have quite known what they were in for when they happily registered for the Middle East Craziness 101 course. Regardless, it's exam time now and we'll be waiting to see the results.
If Hamas gains much of the vote, and even more so if they become a party in the ruling PA government, the world must be seen to reject this result. Democracy - great! Hitler rose to power through democratic means, a means not dissimilar to Hamas' popularity, that also relies on and abuses citizenry desperation, poverty and brainwashed fanaticism. This most famous and most powerful of Palestinian terror groups has by no means changed its 'all of Palestine by all means' platform and like its friends Hezbollah, it continues to follow instructions and receive financial backing from Iran (remember them?) and others.
The Europeans (and even the Americans at times) have played with the idea of relations with these murderers. When it comes to the crunch, declarations of intent by world powers mean precious little right now. Their actions towards a Hamas-controlled PA will tell us much more.
In my books, any whif of 'the people of spoken' from world leaders would be a most revolting switch in the war on terror. It's a multiple choice question but there is, by definition, only one correct answer to circle. Failing this exam, not through lack of knowledge but by misguided and dishonest diplomacy, would be an international kick in the guts for the thousands of Israeli terror victims, the 3000 of 9/11, the 50 or so of 7/7, the 200 in Spain, the 200 in Bali, the thousands of Iraqi terror victims and those Palestinians who do desire true peace.
If all these people did indeed die so that we should learn and grow, the world must prove that here and now.
UPDATE (Thursday morning): Here we are Mr & Mrs World - here is your exam paper. You may begin. Good luck!