25 July 2014

Hamas more legitimate than Harper's Conservatives

Discussions on the Palestine issue are usually framed as Hamas vs. Israel. This suggests Hamas is merely an organization when in fact it is the democratically-elected government of Palestine, having won the last all-Palestine election in 2006. Or at least it was. That government collapsed after violent assault from Israel including the arrest of dozens of parliamentarians, sanctions by Israel and the West (supported, to our shame, by Canada) and ultimately fighting between Hamas and its rival, Fatah. Nonetheless, no election has been held since, so Hamas remains the only party in Palestine with democratic legitimacy.

We might compare that legitimacy with our elected government. Hamas won with 44.5 per cent of the vote. This compares to the 39.6 per cent the Conservatives received to win our 2011 election. Furthermore, the Palestine election had an impressive 77 per cent turnout, despite considerable Israeli obstruction. The election was described by the head of the European Parliament's monitoring team as "extremely professional, in line with international standards, free, transparent and without violence."

Canada's election was no doubt extremely professional as well, but the turnout was only 61 per cent. In other words, the Conservatives were elected by 24 per cent of Canadians, Hamas by 34 per cent of Palestinians. One might say that, from a democratic perspective, the Hamas government is 50 per cent more legitimate than our federal Conservative government. How ironic that Canada, ostensibly a strong supporter of democracy, helped to destroy an elected government with more democratic legitimacy than our own.

In any case, Hamas legitimately represented the will of the Gazan people, if not all Palestinians, at least until the formation of a unity government with Fatah in April. Whether that remains the case, we will soon find out. Hamas and Fatah have now agreed to an election later this year. Let us hope Canada will not collaborate in wrecking this government.


  1. Good point, Bill.

    Here is another thought for you to ponder. First, the facts about the current Gaza conflict. One side has killed 2 civilians and 34 of their enemy's combatants, wounded a dozen (?) civilians and done some relatively minor property damage as well. The other side, however, has killed over 600 civilians of which 200 were children, killed some 200 of their enemy's combatants, wounded some 4000 civilians and done untold damage to the properties of the non combatants as well.

    Now the $90K question (we are Canadians, eh?): who actually are the terrorists, the real bad dudes, and who are the good guys that are only defending themselves from the terrorists?

    Should we redefine "terrorists"? Or should we be more afraid of the "good" guys that our Harper government, which thanks to you, we now acknowledge is less legitimate than Hamas, support? :)

  2. Modern-day Israel and the Palestinian "situation" seems too similar to the settling of America and the Indians (especially the American west)