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September 19, 2005

LA Times Omits Key Point on Hamas in Elections


On Saturday, CAMERA's Web site reported that the New York Times erroneously described the Palestinian obligation to prohibit terror groups like Hamas from participating in elections as an Israeli demand. Alex Safian reminds the Times about the Palestinian commitments under the Oslo Accords:

Annex 2 of the Interim Agreement, for example, clearly requires the Palestinians to bar terror groups like Hamas from the electoral process:

Article III – Qualification and Nomination of Candidates

2. Nominations

The nomination of any candidates, parties or coalitions will be refused, and such nomination or registration once made will be canceled, if such candidates, parties or coalitions:

(1) commit or advocate racism; or

(2) pursue the implementation of their aims by unlawful or nondemocratic means.

Now the Los Angeles Times is also guilty of Oslo amnesia when it comes to Hamas running in elections. An article yesterday by Laura King and Ken Ellingwood, entitled "Hamas Politicians Maneuvering in Gaza Strip," contains nine paragraphs which directly deal with Hamas running in elections, but none mention that such a move is a violation of the Oslo Accords. Instead, like the Gray Lady, the LA Times presents Israeli opposition to Hamas participation as an Israeli "demand."

King and Ellingwood report:

Israel strenuously objects to Hamas participating in elections, particularly those that encompass all Palestinian territory, as long as it refuses to renounce its armed struggle or give up its weapons.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told reporters in New York during the United Nations summit on Friday that Israel might withhold help for the Palestinian elections if Hamas runs.

Now that it has withdrawn from Gaza, there is little Israel could do there. But the prime minister said Israel could, for example, leave West Bank roadblocks in place.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Saturday that Sharon's comments weakened moderates such as Abbas and helped strengthen Hamas.

"I really urge Mr. Sharon not to interfere in internal Palestinian affairs," Erekat said.

"The turning point in Palestinian history is these elections…. This is the road. This is the first step to put Palestinians on the right track. Such statements from Mr. Sharon only complicate this and weaken us."

Hamas said it was determined to run despite Sharon's comments and warned against interference.

The issue of Hamas running in the elections is likely to come up in a meeting between Sharon and Abbas that is tentatively scheduled for the first week of October.

The Bush administration, together with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and other leaders, supports Israel's demand that Hamas disarm, but in general believes that attempts to keep the group out of politics would backfire, Western diplomats said.

Posted by TS at September 19, 2005 05:05 AM


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