Much of the "free world" is likely to pronounce the Palestinian election legitimate, because the world wants a "peace partner" it can use to badger Israel into making further concessions. The world has ignored all of Israel's previous concessions, including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's new pledge to pull "settlers" out of Gaza by February, instead of later this summer as he had previously promised.
A preview of the coming Palestinian election can be found by flashing back to a previous one in 1996. That election was supervised by international and Israeli observers. It was labeled "free and democratic" by such global figures as then-President Bill Clinton, former President Jimmy Carter, and then-Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, as well as the United Nations, European leaders, The New York Times, CNN and the three American broadcast networks.
Thus, the terrorists received not only an extreme makeover in much of the world's eyes, but an upgrade in their diplomatic status. That election changed nothing. The 11-year-old terror campaign continues.
As Ettinger writes, a prerequisite to free elections and peaceful coexistence "is the uprooting of the regime, which has been responsible for the deterioration of the Palestinian society."
None of those running for Palestinian leader, indeed, none of those in the Palestinian leadership, have given any indication of repudiating Arafat's strategy of terror until the singular goal of eliminating Israel is achieved.
Freedom is celebrated in U.S. elections and it appears to be on the march in Ukraine and possibly Iraq, but the Palestinian election will produce more of the same. Three out of four good elections would still be a good thing, but the world should not deceive itself that what happens in the Palestinian election will produce a change in policy or direction.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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