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If the PA Can’t Hold an Election, Is It Ready for a State?

Mahmoud Abbas – currently in the 80th month of his 48-month term, president of a Palestinian Authority that has repeatedly cancelled even local elections, even in its own half of its putative state – has postponed local elections again. Since the PA has no functioning legislature, Abbas did so by decree — cancelling elections “until better conditions are available” and dispensing with the formality of setting a new date. It was the latest in a series of demonstrations that the PA is not only unready for a state; it is not even ready to hold a local election.

The cancelled elections were not the long-overdue ones for president or parliament; those are impossible due to the unfortunate fact a terrorist organization rules half the putative state, and the “reconciliation” necessary to hold such elections (previously announced for sometime “next year”) is not likely to be implemented until shortly after General Franco’s recovery. The newly-cancelled elections were for city and village councils in the West Bank, which the PA nominally controls.

The PA has now cancelled local elections four times. They were supposed to be held in January 2009 but weren’t. Then they were supposed to be held in July 2010 but were cancelled after Fatah “encountered difficulties” producing a list of its candidates. The PA said the cancellation was “for the sake of public interest.” In February, the elections were scheduled for July 2011 and then were cancelled “until better conditions are available” and rescheduled for October. Now they have been cancelled again. The Palestinian “High Court” ruled last year the cancellation was illegal, but has no means to enforce its order — a demonstration the PA has no effective judicial system either.

When you have an unelected “president” who rules by decree; when your “High Court” is a Potemkin one; when your president repeatedly cancels even local elections; when a terrorist group allied with Iran holds half your putative state; when you are trying to “reconcile” with the group you previously promised to dismantle; when you have been offered a state three times in the last decade, refused each offer, and won’t come to the negotiating table to receive a fourth… you just might not be ready for a state.

Yesterday was the J Street “Day of Action” to rally its members to contact Congress to support a two-state solution. About 100 people showed up at a midtown rally in Manhattan to hear Peter Beinart blame Israel. The Los Angeles rally was held at Leo Baeck Temple last night and drew 25 people. Perhaps J Street will one day send letters urging “two states for two peoples” and an “end of claims” to the independent newspapers in the West Bank or Gaza supporting that solution. Oh, wait a minute….