There was talk at the beginning of the third intifada. Is what is happening comparable to 1987 and 2000, or is it something different?
There is a different feature of the current situation: it is a dramatic competition between two forces in the Palestinian public sphere. A competition between the radical Islamists – Hamas and Islamic Jihad – and Fatah, the Palestinian Authority. If we look closely, we can see pictures – which may not reach Portuguese TV – showing agents of the Palestinian Authority security forces fighting against protesters, instigated by Hamas. This happened near Ramallah, Nablus, and other cities. Abu Mazen was not in vain [o nome de guerra do presidente palestiniano, Mahmud Abbas] Election order. I must say that when I called them up, I and many others were surprised. Building on democratic traditions, I would like the Palestinians to achieve democracy and transparency in their political life. But things work differently in our region. Just remember that when the Obama administration pressured Egyptians to hold democratic elections, the result was a Morsi regime for the Muslim Brotherhood, which has nothing to do with democratic values.
The recent Palestinian elections gave Hamas a victory …
exactly. This is something our friends and public opinion in Europe, in the West, do not understand. Democracy cannot be defined in technical matters, rather it must be based on democratic foundations. Otherwise, we will have the radicals and extremists, the enemies of democracy, to come to power easily. It happened in the last Palestinian elections, as I said. Therefore, we were surprised when Abu Mazen announced the poll. When she said, two weeks ago, that it would be postponed, Hamas was frustrated. Because he believed, and perhaps for a reason, that if elections were held, he would win not only in Gaza but in the West Bank. This will not be in the interest of the Palestinian Authority and Fatah. Then Hamas decided to show that it could control the Palestinian territories even from Gaza, without the need for elections.
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