Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Why the arrest of this Palestinian actually matters - by Stephen M. Flatow

Hussam Khader will languish in a prison cell because he is a symbol of everything that is wrong with the Palestinian Authority.

Stephen M. Flatow..
10 March '20..

You probably have never heard the name Hussam Khader. But you should. Because what’s happening to him has extremely important ramifications for Israel and for Middle East peace.

Khader, 59, is a leader of Fatah (the main component of the PLO) and an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The council was established as part of the 1993 Oslo accords. Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin understood that transforming Palestinian Arab society from authoritarianism to democracy was one of the most crucial ingredients for a durable and meaningful peace. So Israel insisted that the Oslo agreement include the establishment of a number of democratic agencies and mechanisms, including a democratically elected legislative council.

Many pundits have strongly criticized the notion that the United States should pursue “regime change” around the world. One can argue that America doesn’t have the resources for such a mission; however, the concept behind “regime change” is sound, and always was. The concept is based on the fact that democracies almost never make war against fellow democracies. Nearly every major war you can think of in modern times was started by a dictator.

Written off by many as just another military man, Rabin recognized that the process of overhauling Palestinian Arab society would be complicated and take a long time. But he also knew that the only way to permit the Palestinian Authority to run its own regime just a few miles from major Israeli cities was to be sure that it would not become yet another aggressive authoritarian entity.

Twenty-seven years have now passed since Rabin began the Oslo experiment. Twenty-seven years is enough time to see the results of the experiment. After 27 years, there should be serious evidence as to whether the P.A. has made meaningful progress towards democratization and entitlement to statehood.

Which brings us back to Palestinian Arab legislator Hussam Khader. Last week, members of the P.A.’s official Preventive Security Services burst into Khader’s home in Nablus (Shechem) in the middle of the night and dragged him off to prison. His crime? He posted a comment on Facebook in which he criticized P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas for having said that striking Palestinian physicians who are seeking a salary increase are “despicable.”

I have no sympathy for Hussam Khader. He is a veteran terrorist who has served time in Israeli prisons. But his arrest tells us a lot about the nature of the Palestinian Authority.

(Continue to Full Column)

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