Alsharq veröffentlicht in einer Sonderreihe junge Perspektiven zu politischen Kräften in Palästina. Wenn morgen Wahlen wären, welche Partei sollte man wählen? Teil I: die Fatah.
In Palästina lahmt der parlamentarische Prozess seit dem Wahlsieg der Hamas 2006. Seit den bürgerkriegsähnlichen Auseinandersetzungen 2007 regiert die islamistische Hamas-Bewegung den Gaza-Streifen, während die säkluar-nationalistische Fatah das politische Geschehen im Westjordanland dominiert. Nationalwahlen scheinen in weiter Ferne.
Das demokratische Mandat der palästinensischen Parlamentsabgeordneten ist seit drei Jahren abgelaufen. Ebenso verfügen die konkurrierenden Präsidenten beziehungsweise Ministerpräsidenten im Westjordandland und Gaza über keine demokratische Legitimation. Entgegen mehrfach angekündigter Versöhnung, bestehen geteilte Führungsstrukturen fort. Doch was wäre, wenn inner-palästinensische Differenzen tatsächlich ausgeräumt würden und morgen Wahlen stattfänden? Welche politischen Kräfte könnten junge PalästinenserInnen aus welchen Gründen unterstützen?
In einer vierteiligen, englischsprachigen Reihe kommen hierzu bei Alsharq junge PalästinenserInnen aus dem Westjordanland zu Wort. Sie beschreiben, welche politischen Kräfte sie bei Wahlen unterstützen würden und was sie dazu bewegt. Alsharq veröffentlicht ihre Gastbeiträge als Diskussionspapiere, die auf keine Weise die Meinung der Alsharq-Redaktion darstellen.
Den Anfang macht Tamara Tamimi, eine Aktivistin der Fatah-Jugend, der größten parteipolitischen Jugendbewegung des Westjordanlandes. Sie stellt dar, warum aus ihrer Sicht Fatah die Option der Wahl für säkulare PalästinenserInnen verkörpert. Weitere Perspektiven, die sich für Hamas, die palästinensische Linke sowie einen Boykott der Wahlen aussprechen, folgen in den kommenden Wochen immer freitags auf Alsharq.
A plea for Fatah by Tamara Tamimi
The other day, I was discussing with my mother the options open to the Palestinian people once political and social reconciliation between the Fatah and Hamas governments will be completed and the people have the opportunity to vote in legislative, presidential and national council elections. During this discussion, I remembered a plea I made to her in January 2006, when legislative council elections last took place:
Me: Mom, please vote for Fatah in these elections.
Mom (surprised): Why Tamara?
Me: Because if you don’t, Hamas will win.
Mom: But Tamara, if everyone votes for Fatah so that Hamas won’t win, instead of voting for the Palestinian left, then this will further weaken the Palestinian left.
Seven years later, my point of view is more mature while my mother’s is quite different. My university years made me realize that as Palestinian people, we have only two political options: Fatah and Hamas. This is due, first and foremost, to their prominent thinkers and leaders, who shape the party’s approach and have an immense popular support base.
To me, unfortunately, it appears that choosing a “Palestinian Leftist Party” is no longer a viable option. The Palestinian Left we see today is not the one we knew back in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Today, the Left is adopting a predominantly passive approach with regards to all essential Palestinian issues, including inner-Palestinian reconciliation and mainstreaming leftist values. The Left is stuck in a process of rebuilding itself in a post-Soviet Union era and cannot so far compete with other Palestinian political parties.
„The Left has not recovered from the fall of the Soviet Union“
Public opinion has turned against Fatah, which is accused of a multitude of mistakes over the past years, particularly after signing the Oslo Accords and establishing the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). These mistakes include allowing the PNA to marginalize Fatah as the leading national liberation movement and, more importantly, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. The inability of the Fatah-dominated PNA to reach a political solution to the Israeli occupation coupled with rampant corruption of the PNA leadership led the people to lose faith in Fatah.
On another level, being a center-leftist party on the socio-political spectrum, Fatah failed to mainstream concepts of social justice and human rights in the Palestinian society through the educational system and legislation. Among other issues, the Palestinian Personal Status Law and the Palestinian Penal Law still lack proscriptions for equal citizenship rights for women and discriminate against females in terms of marriage, divorce and inheritance. Sentences for perpetrators of so-called “honor-killings” remain weak, murderers facing incarceration for only short periods of time. On the same token, the party must critically question itself: How often do we find women in senior positions within Fatah, the PNA and the Fatah Youth? Though quotas have gradually improved, serious steps are still to be taken to turn the tide.
Meanwhile, one cannot deny the PNA’s achievements in advancing education and health in Palestine. For instance, the number of governmental schools increased by 64.3% between the school year 1994/1995 and the school year 2006/2007 with enrollment rates increasing by 75.6%.
Fatah is the only secular and leftist choice with real power
Ultimately, the many shortcomings notwithstanding, I reached the conclusion that for me the choice for political progress is Fatah. As a secular and leftist Palestinian, who believes in concepts of civic values and human rights, I oppose a fundamentalist and religious political regime and therefore Hamas. From my point of view and for the reasons outlined above, the Palestinian Left is no longer a viable choice. And my mother lately affirmed my point: “You were right, Tamara, my vote for the Palestinian Left was wasted since the parties didn’t do anything. In order to make sure that Hamas doesn’t win, we should all vote for Fatah”.
In the same context, it is my belief that Fatah helps assembling the Palestinian people in popular struggle and armed resistance against the Israeli occupation; for instance, when Fatah calls for mass demonstrations or for blocking bypass roads, people are responsive to this call. Additionally, Palestinians from different political factions confirm that it was Fatah who grouped the Palestinian people during the First Intifada of 1987 under the flagship of the United National Leadership.
On a similar level, the Palestinian cause is strong when Fatah is strong, as was emphasized by the Palestinian Ambassador to Germany Dr. Salah Abdul Shafi to a visiting delegation of Fatah Youth:
Dr. Salah Abdul Shafi: I understand that the political affiliation of all of you is Fatah?
Delegation (smiling): Yes!
Dr. Salah Abdul Shafi: Well, then you should know that I’m not Fatah, but that as a Palestinian I am strong when Fatah is strong and I am weak when Fatah is weak.
In order for Fatah to re-establish itself as the number one political party for the Palestinian people, it should take note of the following: Fatah should put a strict end to corruption within the PNA; it should implement the decision made by the Revolutionary Council prohibiting Fatah leaders from occupying positions in the PNA; and it should rebuild confidence among the Palestinian people by re-engaging in true popular activities to remind the Palestinian people that the Fatah they knew is still existing.
However, all of this would be futile if the younger generation of Palestinians approached Fatah and other political factions as an end instead of a means. It is the duty of Palestinian political factions and the Palestinian leadership to clarify and emphasize to the Palestinian people that political factions are mere means to achieve supreme ends, including not only ending the occupation and establishing the Palestinian State, but also mainstreaming social justice, equality, integrity and transparency. The time has come for all Palestinian political parties to reestablish themselves as leading bodies for the sake of political and social change.