JERUSALEM—An article singing the praises of Israeli democracy appeared today in perhaps the most unlikely venue imaginable—Gaza—amid criticism of the reelection of Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister of Israel and the deepening of hard-right policies that choice implies.
"This enemy is proving to us that despite its tyranny and aggression, it surpasses us in many ways that are no longer hidden from any observer possessing a minimal degree of objectivity," wrote Imad Al-Falouji, head of the Gaza-based Institute for Intercultural Dialogue.
Al-Falouji, a former member of Hamas who later served as information minister under Yasser Arafat, titled his article, "Israel’s democracy and our anarchy."
There is no wisdom in cursing and disparaging the enemy, he wrote, and no shame in seeing reality as it is.
"Anyone examining the Israeli entity is amazed by the extent of internal disagreement on every issue between the religious and secular sectors and also by disagreements within the sectors. Every viewpoint has proponents and opponents and every senior official has a dossier of corruption charges against him.
"But despite all this they have passed laws that govern the handling of these disagreements and set out a common goal: that of serving the State of Israel and the people of Israel. They manage to use the internal disagreements as a source of strength."
Al-Falouji then made an unflattering comparison to his own Palestinian society.
"We, ‘the possessors of truth,’ look at what is happening to us," Al-Falouji said. "We strike out in every direction without an agreed-upon plan or purpose. We do not believe in a unifying means. We have destroyed everything that united us. We do not possess the ability to listen to the other. Anarchy rules the day: political, economic, social, even conceptual anarchy."
Al-Falouji found a common thread while examining the campaign platforms of Israeli parties.
"All of them agreed on the need to serve the people on the socio-economic level, promote employment, cultivate the family, and solve its problems, eradicate unemployment, promote education, and achieve security for all citizens. They do not focus so much on political sparring and grandstanding."
In his native Palestine, he wrote, "the focus is on political and regional affairs." It is rare for a Palestinian party to concern itself with improving the lives of the people and resolving their internal crises.
"Moreover, nobody proposes solutions to anything."
He concluded in pointing to Israel’s Arab parties, which united for the first time in this election and won 14 seats—the third largest grouping in the new Knesset—as an example that Palestinians should follow.
"They have proven that we are capable of change, and that there is yet hope."