Monday, February 06, 2006
FREE AND FAIR DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS IN PALESTINE
posted by: buzzimp at 12:55 PM
By Luckyboy Pitswane

Together with the rest of the world, we in Palestine followed the process leading to the 25th of January – the second Palestinian Legislative Council elections – with the greatest interest. This arose from a deep concern we have sustained for many decades to see the immensely talented people of Palestine living in conditions of peace.

Even though they are living under occupation, more than 1,000,000 Palestinians exercised their democratic rights by participating in the second elections for the PLC, which took place 10 years after the first ones. As an international observer, I was assigned to monitor elections in the rural villages outside of Jenin, in the northern part of the West Bank With or without us, everything was well organised.

I was very impressed by the level of professionalism displayed by the Central Election Commission, Party Representatives and international observers. Everything was well organised and everyone new what she/he was doing. Apart from few human errors or discrepancies people were in a position to exercise their democratic rights in a free and fair manner.

Once again, in Jerusalem, Israel was exposed. More than 125,000 Palestinians are eligible to vote in East Jerusalem, only 6,300 were allowed to vote in post offices in Jerusalem. The rest were forced to go to the nearest polling stations outside of Jerusalem. One cannot confirm if these elections were free and fair, since no Central Elections Commission staff were allowed to work in Israeli post offices. The elections were conducted by Israeli post office staff and no counting was allowed inside the post office.

The issue of Jerusalem should be seriously looked into, because East Jerusalem is seen as a future Palestinian capital. One is shocked that even though there have been serious reports of such malpractices in the past, the world is again quiet.

Many were and are still shocked by Hamas' victory, who won 74 seats out of 132 in the Council. Hamas will lead the Palestinian Authority for the coming four years. I wish and hope that Hamas will work with Mahmoud Abbas, as explained in the comments made by Ismail Haniyya (the head of Hamas' electoral list) when he said "Hamas is a Palestinian movement. It is an aware and mature movement, one which is politically open in the Palestinian political and social arena, and to its Arab and Islamic hinterlands and similarly open to the international arena."

The so-called Quartet is missing the point in Palestine

The Quartet's reaction to Hamas' election victory in Palestine is very disappointing. Their final statement presented by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan appeared to be more politically biased, premature, unprofessional and more emotional than reflective.

Their comments remind one of the now defunct South African Apartheid Nationalist Party (NP) to impose on the African National Congress (ANC) the composition of its delegation for negotiations in the early 1990s. The NP then demanded the exclusion of the Communists ("terrorists") from the ANC delegation.

Their statement also contradicts the so called superpower's political strategy of dealing with terrorism by promoting democracy in the Middle East. Their reaction will send a confusing signal to the moderate citizens of the Gulf States who are hoping for more democratic reforms by their governments. The super-powers have once again revealed their true colours. Their intentions are not to promote democracy, but to create puppets and regimes that will always dance to their lousy music and are called allies in exchange for oil and natural resources in the Gulf region. It is unfortunate because the democratic process in Palestine has not allowed the superpowers that privilege.

The Quartet has an opportunity to work with the democratically elected Hamas now that it is a legitimate political voice of the Palestinians. If they reject Hamas, they reject Palestine. We got the message.
149 Comments
Anonymous Just have a question
Doesn't a million voters mean pretty much everyone in Palestine over the age of 18?

In that case does that mean there are a sum total of 1 million adults in all of Palastine including the West Bank, Gaza, (of which 125,000 live in East Jerusalem)?

And since, there are no more than an additional 50% in children, does that mean the entire total population of Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem totals no more than 1.5 million?

Of which, at least half already live in an independent state in Gaza?

Excluding E. Jerusalem, for a minute, doesn't that mean that 250,000 Jewish West Bank residents (also excluding E. Jerusalem for a minute) are just a mere half of the entire ~550,000 Arabs in the West Bank?
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Parental and peer influences play a major part in moulding our level of self-esteem when we are children and in our early years of adolescence. The opinions of the people closest to us and how they reacted to us as individuals or part of the group was a dominant factor in the processes involved in forming our self esteem.

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Every day we make decisions based on our level of self-esteem. We also exhibit that level of self esteem to those around us through our behaviour. 90% of all communication is non-verbal - it is not what you say but ho you say it that matters! Your body language, tonality and facial gestures can all tell a completely different story to your words. It is our behaviour which influences others and people react to us by reading our non-verbal communications. Have you ever met someone you just didn't like although on the surface they seemed polite and courteous, or you met someone who seemed to speak confidently yet you knew they were really frightened underneath and just displaying bravado?

Parental and peer influences play a major part in moulding our level of self-esteem when we are children and in our early years of adolescence. The opinions of the people closest to us and how they reacted to us as individuals or part of the group was a dominant factor in the processes involved in forming our self esteem.

As adults we tend to perpetuate these beliefs about ourselves and in the vast majority of cases they are ridiculously erroneous. It is time to re-evaluate our opinion of ourselves and come to some new conclusions about these old belief patterns.

Ask yourself some serious question:
Is your long-held view about yourself accurate? Do we respect the sources from which we derived these beliefs? Most of the negative feedback we bought into as we were growing up actually came from people we have little or no respect for and as adults we would probably laugh their comments away! Yet the damage to your self esteem was done when you were very young and you still carry it with you to this day.

Is it possible that even those people you respected, who influenced your self-worth, were wrong? Perhaps they had low self esteem also.

As adults we have the opportunity to reshape our self-esteem. Try to judge accurately the feedback you receive from people you respect. This process will allow you to deepen your understanding of yourself and expand your self-image. It will also show you were you actually need to change things about yourself and were you don't. Many people are striving to better themselves in areas where they are just fine or actually excelling and it is only because they have an inaccurate picture of themselves in their minds due to low self esteem!

Setting small goals and achieving them will greatly boost your self-esteem. Identify your real weakness and strengths and begin a training program to better your inter-personal or professional skills. This will support you in your future big life goals and boost your self-esteem and self confidence to high levels you didn't existed!

Learn to recognise what makes you feel good about yourself and do more of it. Everyone has certain things that they do which makes them feel worthwhile but people with low self esteem tend to belittle these feelings or ignore them.

Take inventory of all the things that you have already accomplished in your life no matter how small they may seem. Recognise that you have made achievements in your life and remember all the positive things that you have done for yourself and others. Take a note of your failures and don't make excuses like "I'm just not good enough" or "I just knew that would happen to me", analyse the situation and prepare yourself better for the next time. If someone else created success, regardless of the obstacles, then you are capable of doing the same! Remember everyone has different strengths and weakness so do not judge your own performance against that of another just use them as inspiration and know that what one human being has achieved so can another!

Surround yourself with people who respect you and want what is best for you - people who are honest about your strengths and will help you work through your weakness. Give the same level of support to them!

Avoid people who continually undermine you or make you feel small. These people are just displaying very low self esteem. As your own self esteem grows you will find that you are no longer intimidated by another's self confidence or success and you can actually be joyful for them! Do things you love to do and that make you happy. A truly happy person never has low self esteem they are too busy enjoying life! By getting busy living your life with passion and joy you will not be able to be self-consciousness.

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