In its latest rejection of democracy in the Middle East, the United
States has taken a stand rejecting the Palestinian attempts to form a
national unity government, despite the fact that the United Nations has
stated that the government currently being formed meets the demands
placed on it by the international community.
The United States government, which had acted as enthusiastic cheerleaders for the democratic elections in Palestine in January — judged the most democratic elections in the Middle East– changed its stance immediately when the people elected a party which was not the one pre-selected by George Bush and his advisors.
Following the elections, the U.S., Israel and the European Union declared an economic blockade meant to starve the Palestinian people for electing the 'wrong' party in their democratic election. Now, with the siege reaching severe proportions in Gaza, and with Israeli invasions and bombings resulting in the deaths of over 250 Palestinians, 55 of them children, since June, the Palestinian government has been bending over backwards to create a compromise that will satisfy the U.S. and Israel into recognizing their uncontestably democratically-elected government.
But the U.S. rejection of that compromise, in contradiction of the United Nations' stand, has come even before negotiations are fully completed.
US State Department spokesman, Tom Casey, declared that the Palestinian national unity government, that has not been formed yet, "has not complied with the Quartet [for Mid-East Peace, made up of the U.S., the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), and Russia]'s conditions" to recognise the State of Israel, renounce violence and recognise all previously signed peace agreements.
The head of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, however, stated in a press conference Wednesday that in his view, the unity government would, in fact, be in compliance with the Quartet's conditions. He stated that he had been assured by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that the ruling Hamas party, considered to be a 'terrorist' organization by the United States and Israel, would be qilling to accept agreements negotiated before Hamas came to power.
"If that is, indeed, the case, it should really allow us – the international community, the donor community – to move ahead very quickly and provide the assistance that the Palestinian people need, because it is a very desperate and serious situation," said Annan.
Hanan Ashrawi, an independent Palestinian legislator, called upon the US administration not to prejudge the national government. Speaking to a reporter with Ma'an News, she said, "I advise them to take their time, to act slowly, before issuing such judgements; as the government is not formed yet and it has not published its political program or platform". She added, "Our aim is not to form a government that satisfies America or others; the world should deal positively with any Palestinian steps".
Ashrawi said she was astonished by Tom Casey's announcement that the US government rejected the Palestinian national government. She said, "I don’t know what this official said. Has the government been formed? And has it published its program so that such statements can be made?"
Other Palestinian leaders have also criticized the U.S. for its rush to judgment on the as-yet unpublished program of the national unity government, particularly considering that it was the U.S. who had pushed for the democratic elections in January — until, that is, the people of Palestine chose to elect a party different from the one supported by the U.S. government.