Francis Boyle: Destroying Democracy in Palestine

By Francis Boyle
Special to

The belligerent Bush Jr. administration’s policies against the state of Palestine in order to depose its democratically- elected government by organizing an internal coup d’état in Gaza by means of Palestinian surrogates under the command of General Mohamed Dahlan  provide yet another compelling reason why it is too dangerous for world peace to keep these Neo-Conservatives in power any longer. 

If there had ever been any doubt about it, the Bush Jr. administration’s aggression against Palestine ’s democratically-elected government proved that their alleged program of “democratization” for the Arab and Muslim world was a joke and a fraud to begin with. To be sure, Article 21(3) of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which constitutes customary international law, expressly provides: “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.”

But of course in January 2006 when the Palestinians democratically elected a government that the Neo-Conservatives in the Bush Jr. administration and their Kadima/Likudnik confederates in Israel did not prefer, they jointly did everything humanly possible to destroy it. 

To the contrary the U.N. General Assembly’s Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States and the Protection of Their Independence and Sovereignty in Resolution 2131 (12 December 1965), which constitutes customary international law, provides in relevant part that; “Also, no State shall organize, assist, foment, finance, incite or tolerate subversive, terrorist or armed activities directed towards the violent overthrow of the regime of another State or interfere in civil strife in another State.”

When directly confronted with this illegal American-Israeli sponsored attempt to overthrow it in June of 2007, the democratically-elected Palestinian government used force to repress the military coup d’état by General Dahlan just as any other government—whether democratically elected or not—would certainly do. To be sure the democratically-elected Palestinian government committed some human right violations against fellow Palestinians during the course of repressing the American-Israeli-Dahlan coup, which were lamentable, illegal and condemnable, but also jointly and severally attributable to the United States and Israel that  both maliciously instigated the crisis.

Given the magnitude of the threat against it and the certain prospect of a massive bloodbath by General Dahlan if his coup had succeeded, I for one was impressed by the minimal loss of Palestinian lives inflicted by the democratically-elected Palestinian government during the course of repressing this military coup d’état, followed by the prompt re-establishment of law and order in Gaza without governmentally sanctioned revenge attacks against political opponents. This is the manner in which a democratically-elected government is supposed to behave under international law.

By contrast, if General Dahlan had succeeded with his coup d’état, based upon his prior performance, he would have inflicted a massive bloodbath in Gaza and the installation of a military dictatorship there  with the full support of the governments in the United States and Israel .

-Francis A. Boyle is a Professor of International Law and a human rights attorney. He is the author of "Destroying World Order" (2004, Clarity Press).

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