Monday, January 22, 2007

Palestinian refugees must have a say-so

Palestinian refugees and exiles must have a say-so. Rima Merriman, The Electronic Intifada, 15 January 2007

Today, Palestinian refugees outside the occupied territories and Palestinian exiles feel completely excluded from the body politic and national debate currently taking place in the occupied territories. They listen to the feuding emanating from the territories in helpless dismay. They watch those on the inside who are caught up in a carefully engineered web of power struggles and passionate rifts that seem incomprehensible in their intensity and misdirection. This fragmentation in the Palestinian political process has long been in the making. The Palestinian National Authority, courtesy of the Oslo negotiations, is designed to represent only Palestinians living in the occupied territories and to function as no more than Israel's administrative arm.The advent of Hamas on the Palestinian political scene has forcefully brought to the fore the question of adequate forms of representation for the Palestinian people. Far from enhancing democracy and representation, the elections of the Palestinian Legislative Council exclude Palestinians outside the territories. As it turned out, these last elections were also deemed by the international community as irrelevant.

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