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Palestinian elections report

flint | 17.01.2005 13:34

Report from an international observer during the presidential elections- Palestine 9th january 2005.

Palestinian Election Report

So the partially free and fair elections are over. Generally they were very well organized and executed, bar the restricting behaviour of the Israelis in Jerusalem and some unsporting behaviour by Palestinians in some parts of the West Bank and Gaza.

East Jerusalem

In Jerusalem the post offices used as polling stations were manned by Israeli employees and were swarming with Israeli 'post office security' as they called themselves. A security arm unheard of until election day. Security personal are not allowed inside the stations without good reason. And, as the polling booths were not enclosed, voting was not confidential. These factors created an intimidating atmosphere and contravened the election regulations. The intimidation was further increased with the arrival of religeous right wing settlers who intimidated both Palestinian voters and international observers. As it was, a number of those who braved the heavy Israeli presence were refused the right to vote anyway because their names were not on the voting list even though they had registration cards for that particular centre. These lists were drawn up by the Israeli authorities.

Gaza Strip

In Gaza, where I spent two days observing with the British MP Jeremy Corbyn, there were also mixed reports. The actual execution of the election and voting process was very good with the election officers clearly taking pride in there work and following the procedures closely. Unfortunately there were some abuses by the voters themselves. At around 5pm, two hours before close of polls, an announcement was made on Palestinian radio that the stations would remain open until 9pm instead of 7pm. They also said that anyone with Palestinian id who hadn’t registered to vote could do so, soley relying on the special ink to indicate whether they had voted already. I witnessed a barrage of young men fiercely jostling to get into the polling stations leaving the Palestinian security struggling to keep control and prevent too many people rushing the polling station at once. It was later said to me by two eminent doctors that Fatah was offering 50 shekels to young men to board a bus which took them from station to station to vote more than the one time allowed. Two lawyers I spoke to in the same polling station showed me how the special ink that can’t come off came off (with olive oil)! Thus allowing people to vote again. A fellow observer also reported seeing a plaster being put on the inked thumb and offering the other when voting for presumably the second time. This showed a lack of diligence by the election officer.

On the Israeli side it appeared they did open up the checkpoints to allow free movement by both observers and Palestinians. This was evident when we queued no more than 30 minutes to get through the infamous Abu Holi checkpoint just before the turn off for the main Israeli settlement of Gush Katif and on the way to Khan Yunis and Rafah from Gaza city. Although we found this was not the case trying to enter Al Muwasi at 6.45am on election day. The only checkpoint and entry point into this strip of land, sandwiched between Gush Katif settlement and the beach, seemed to be closed to the resident Palestinians waiting, of which there were about 60 by the time we'd waited one and half hours to gain entry. We were told some people had been waiting up to six days to return home. On leaving the area through the Ta-Fah checkpoint we witnessed over 100 people waiting to get in. I cannot confirm how many if any were allowed to enter but this did not constitute freedom of movement as promised by the Israelis and would contravene their right to vote.

The Future

Mahmoud Abas was sworn in yesterday after getting around 62% of the vote. It should be noted that approximately 50% of those entitled to vote did so. What can be read from this? Hamas, the leading Islamist party boycotted the presidential elections and it is therefore likely a lot of their supporters followed suit. Hamas is particularly strong in Gaza and Hebron. There are those who said what is the point in voting when we know who will win? And there are those who did not like or trust any of the candidates, not least the winner Mahmoud Abas.
Since the results have been announced a number of Palestinians have talked about the ‘real’ Mahmoud Abas. They claim he is known to have benefited from PA funds, some even calling him a thief. As of yet, I have not been given an alternate explanation as to how he paid for the US$2million house I saw in ‘Mahmoud Abas Square’ in Gaza City. Some of the people I spoke to say that he is in it for the power, status, foreign trips and money and do not trust him to achieve concessions from Israel, but rather, will give concessions himself. Coming back from Ramallah the taxi driver said, ‘He has two years and if he doesn’t prove himself we will remove him’. A sentiment echoed by the others I spoke to.



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A step forward ?

17.01.2005 15:56

As we remember the 60th aniversary of the liberation of Aushwitz it is worth noting that Mahmoud Abbas the new Palestinian leader is a known Holocaust denier
The author of a book denying that the Nazis murdered 6 million Jews Mahmoud Abbas (also known as Abu Mazen), the book, published in Arabic in 1983, translates as "The Other Side: The Secret Relations Between Nazism and the Leadership of the Zionist Movement." It was originally his doctoral dissertation, completed at Moscow Oriental College.

The book repeatedly attempts to cast doubt on the fact that the Nazis slaughtered 6 million Jews, according to a translation provided by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.

"Following the war," he writes, "word was spread that six million Jews were amongst the victims and that a war of extermination was aimed primarily at the Jews...The truth is that no one can either confirm or deny this figure. In other words, it is possible that the number of Jewish victims reached six million, but at the same time it is possible that the figure is much smaller -- below one million."

Abbas denies that the gas chambers were used to murder Jews, quoting a "scientific study" to that effect by French Holocaust-denier Robert Faurisson.

Abbas' book then asserts: "The historian and author Raoul Hilberg thinks that the figure does not exceed 890,000."

That is, of course, utterly false. Hilberg, a distinguished historian and author of the classic study "The Destruction of the European Jews," has never said or written any such thing.

Abbas believes the 6 million figure is the product of a Zionist conspiracy: "It seems that the interest of the Zionist to inflate this figure so that their gains will be greater," he writes. "This led them to emphasize this figure in order to gain the solidarity of international public opinion with Zionism. Many scholars have debated the figure of six million and reached stunning conclusions -- fixing the number of Jewish victims at only a few hundred thousand."

Another falsehood. In fact, no serious scholar proposes such a figure.

After reducing the magnitude of the Nazi slaughter so that it no longer seems to have been a full-scale Holocaust, Abbas seeks to absolve the Nazis by blaming the Zionist leadership for whatever killings did take place. According to Abbas, "A partnership was established between Hitler's Nazis and the leadership of the Zionist movement...[the Zionists gave] permission to every racist in the world, led by Hitler and the Nazis, to treat Jews as they wish, so long as it guarantees immigration to Palestine."

In addition to encouraging the persecution of Jews so they would immigrate to the Holy Land, the Zionist leaders actually wanted Jews to be murdered, because -- in Abbas' words -- "having more victims meant greater rights and stronger privilege to join the negotiation table for dividing the spoils of war once it was over. However, since Zionism was not a fighting partner -- suffering victims in a battle -- it had no escape but to offer up human beings, under any name, to raise the number of victims, which they could then boast of at the moment of accounting."

Perhaps sentiments of this sort were common within Abbas' circle of graduate students in the Soviet Union in the 1970s. But in the free world, such propaganda has never been accepted as serious scholarship.

In most Western countries, Holocaust-deniers have been treated as pariahs. In Canada and many European countries, Holocaust-denial is a criminal offense. In New Zealand, Canterbury University recently issued an apology for having accepting a master's thesis denying the Holocaust, while the French minister of education revoked a doctoral degree that was awarded to a Holocaust-denier by the University of Nantes. A Polish university professor who denied the Holocaust was suspended from his position. The Japanese publisher Bungei Shunju shut down one of its magazines for printing an article denying the Holocaust.

Is this the man to lead the Palestinian people ?


RE: A step forward

18.01.2005 21:02

"Ben Gurion [founding father of Israel] informed a meeting of Labor Zionists in Great Britain in 1938: "If I knew that it would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England and only half of them by transporting them to Eretz Israel, then I opt for the second alternative." Ibid., p.149."

and much more at:

Ten questions to the Zionists
by Rabbi Michael Dov Weissmandl ZT"L
Dean of Nitra Yeshiva

IS IT TRUE that in 1941 and again in 1942, the German Gestapo offered all European Jews transit to Spain, if they would relinquish all their property in Germany and Occupied France; on condition that:
a) none of the deportees travel from Spain to Palestine; and
b) all the deportees be transported from Spain to the USA or British colonies, and there to remain; with entry visas to be arranged by the Jews living there; and
c) $1000.00 ransom for each family to be furnished by the Agency, payable upon the arrival of the family at the Spanish border at the rate of 1000 families daily.

IS IT TRUE that the Zionist leaders in Switzerland and Turkey received this offer with the clear understanding that the exclusion of Palestine as a destination for the deportees was based on an agreement between the Gestapo and the Mufti.

IS IT TRUE that the answer of the Zionist leaders was negative, with the following comments:
a) ONLY Palestine would be considered as a destination for the deportees.
b) The European Jews must accede to suffering and death greater in measure than the other nations, in order that the victorious allies agree to a "Jewish State" at the end of the war.
c) No ransom will be paid

IS IT TRUE that this response to the Gestapo's offer was made with the full knowledge that the alternative to this offer was the gas chamber.

IS IT TRUE that in 1944, at the time of the Hungarian deportations, a similar offer was made, whereby all Hungarian Jewry could be saved.

IS IT TRUE that the same Zionist hierarchy again refused this offer (after the gas chambers had already taken a toll of millions).

IS IT TRUE that during the height of the killings in the war, 270 Members of the British Parliament proposed to evacuate 500,000 Jews from Europe, and resettle them in British colonies, as a part of diplomatic negotiations with Germany.

IS IT TRUE that this offer was rejected by the Zionist leaders with the observation "Only to Palestine!"

IS IT TRUE that the British government granted visas to 300 rabbis and their families to the Colony of Mauritius, with passage for the evacuees through Turkey. The "Jewish Agency" leaders sabotaged this plan with the observation that the plan was disloyal to Palestine, and the 300 rabbis and their families should be gassed.

IS IT TRUE that during the course of the negotiations mentioned above, Chaim Weitzman, the first "Jewish statesman" stated: "The most valuable part of the Jewish nation is already in Palestine, and those Jews living outside Palestine are not too important". Weitzman's cohort, Greenbaum, amplified this statement with the observation "One cow in Palestine is worth more than all the Jews in Europe".

international students for palestine society


19.01.2005 10:41

I guess we can see where the "International Students for Palestine Society" stands on the Jewish question !


Well Done Israel

19.01.2005 18:36

I think it said much for the Israeli government that despite this man being a known and proven Holocaust denier still they have attempted to build peace with him. Of course the those Jewish hating elements of Palestinians did their usual and made sure that Peace was once more snatched away.

Richard Brington

RE: Shocking

19.01.2005 20:14

Let me applogise, i had no right to talk on behalf of ISPS. I dont know what the "party line" is regarding the role Zionists played during the Holocaust.

(Brian dont kill me)

prefer to remain anon