TO THE CHAGRIN OF THE FT -PALESTINIAN DEMOCRACY MAY JUST BEGIN TO WORK
Sometimes I just can't believe what I read. Thus, in an article written yesterday compaining about the refusal of the legislature to confirm Ahmad Qurei's cabinet choices Harvey Morris writes:
The Parliamentary revolt marked a sharp contrast with the Arafat era. Legislators said the late Palestinian president would have silenced dissent with the combination of threats and bribes, weapons not available to his successor."
Poor Abbas and Qurei, Morris seems to write instead of appologizing for failing to expose the real nature of Arafat's regime. This tone is even more surprising given the reason for the legislature's rebellion:
Here is their complaint:
Even though Mr Qurie has now dumped a host of long-serving ministers from the era of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, some MPs still believe that some of his choices are tainted by corruption.
"The situation is very hard, not only for Abu Alaa, but for all of us," said Jamal Shaati, a Fatah MP from the northern West Bank town of Jenin.
"Abu Alaa speaks about a technocratic government, but the list still has some names who in the past have been accused of corruption." . . .
"The majority (of MPs) is in favour of a government of technocrats but the problem is with its leader," added Freih Abu Medein, a Fatah MP and former minister of justice.
The two MPs Mr Qurie wants to keep on in government are negotiations minister Saeb Erakat and foreign minister Nabil Shaath, who is in line to be promoted to deputy prime minister.
But Mr Erakat threw another a spanner in the works today when he told reporters that he had declined the offer to be part of the line-up.
"I have excused myself as I am an MP and this government should not include members of parliament. There should be no exceptions," he said.
Even Mr Shaath's appointment now looks unlikely with Fatah sources saying that the leadership had decided today that no MP should be in the cabinet.
Just as interesting as the rebellion is the reason Morris gives for it:
Fatah legislators fear that failure to come up with a government that responds to demands for reform will play into the hands of Hamas in parliamentary elections in July.
"The consequences would be that Hamas would make great gains in both parliamentary and municipal elections," said Mr. Abu Midein."And that's the end of Fatah."
"On a more positive note for the new regime," Morris ends the piece,"Israel yesterday released . . ."
Gosh. Morris really seems to miss"the good old day" of Arafat's corrupt tyrany.
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