Democracy rises in shaky Palestine

By Abigail Keefe
March 9, 2006

Democracy! It is the constant cry of the American government with regards to Iraq. However, Iraq is not the first experiment in creating democracies in the Middle East.

Palestine now stands as both a testament to the institution of democracy and its often unpredictable consequences.

Scholars have struggled for years to predict both the benefits and pitfalls of implementing democracy in a country and Palestine has shown just how democracy can produce results that may not be favorable in the eyes of America.

The recent free elections held in Palestine left the controversial terrorist group Hamas in power in the Palestinian Authority, the nations governing body.

Although the political wing of Hamas often tries to distance itself from its more violent wing, it still embraces the principles of fundamental Islam, and that puts it fundamentally at odds with Western democracies.

Next door to the chaos of Iraq, a democracy has risen with unintended consequences; a regime in power that makes the American government more than a little uneasy.

Certainly this raises the question of whether or not democracy is the best option for a country like Palestine or Iraq.

As Americans, we naturally value the freedom of democratic elections, but can we promote democracy at a risk to our own national security, and that of Israel, a nation we have a history of supporting and protecting?

With Palestine we have passed the point of no return. There were rumors floating around that the results were inaccurate and the Palestinian government would try and hold the elections again, however

I think both the Palestinian and American governments know this would only cause violence and unrest.

It would be hypocritical in the worst way for America to demand the elections be held again after its constant crusades for democracy in the Middle East.

The best possible position for America is to be cautious, but still maintain open channels of communication with Palestine and Hamas.

We cannot reverse the democratic process we so vehemently championed in Palestine, and now in Iraq, but we can keep a watchful eye on things through healthy diplomacy.

A recent article suggested that the Bush administration has been reluctant to engage in talks with the Hamas members of the Plaestinian Authority, however this is the worst possible route to take with this group. More dangerous than disagreeing with some of their policies is shutting them out completely.

Posted to the web by Shane Evans

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Abigail Keefe

Abigail Keefe is a Cabrini College student studying communications, enjoying her time in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Abbie loves working for the school newspaper, the Loquitur, and is also passionate about everything that the communication field has to offer.

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