Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Western "respect" for democracy

When Hamas won elections in Palestine it led to the brutal blockade of Gaza, a totally undisguised collective punishment in violation of international law and common morality which continues to this day, enforced by Israel and Egypt but with the solid backing of countries like the U.S. and U.K. which are so vocal about their alleged support for democracy in Iran (support which was strangely lacking during the rule of the Shah, just as it is lacking today when it comes to Saudi Arabia).

But there's another aspect of the Palestine election which receives less attention - the imprisonment by Israel of 64 Palestinian Cabinet ministers, legislators, and other officials, charged with belonging to a "banned organization" (Hamas). This event comes to mind because today Israel decided to release, because he had reached the end of his sentence, the Hamas speaker of the Palestinian parliament, Abdul Aziz Dweik. The release is bizarre in that Dweik is, of course, still a member of Hamas, and thus is presumably (by Israeli "law") subject to immediate re-arrest, trial (if he's lucky), and sentencing for precisely the same "crime" he was in prison for in the first place. This may account for the fact that a military court was apparently allowed to extend the sentence (but declined to do so in this case), a practice only one step removed from giving them an indeterminate sentence in the first place (which I would have said was the U.S. practice except the U.S. practice of indeterminate sentences doesn't include the pesky formality of trials).

Curious how that Western respect for "democracy" varies from place to place, isn't it?

Why stop here? There's more...

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