The Palestinian Authority, Hamas and the Arab League member States continue to deny their populations basic political rights and civil liberties - according to a Report recently published by Freedom House. At the same time the Arab League is mounting an intensive campaign to delegitimise Israel - the only State in the Middle East where such freedoms exist.
The Freedom House report is an annual survey of global political rights and civil liberties carried out in 194 countries and 14 territories around the World.
Freedom House defines itself as:
an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.”
In determining what constitutes “political rights” and “civil liberties” - Freedom House has drawn from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the following components of freedom which include an individual’s ability to:
1.Participate freely in the political process;
2.Vote freely in legitimate elections;
3.Have representatives that are accountable to them;
4.Exercise freedoms of expression and belief;
5.Be able to freely assemble and associate;
6.Have access to an established and equitable system of rule of law;
7.Have social and economic freedoms, including equal access to economic opportunities and the right to hold private property.
Freedom House has determined that 18 of the 22 Arab League member States all rate very poorly and fall into the category of being “Not Free” which is defined as :
“…one where basic political rights are absent and basic civil liberties are widely and systematically denied.”
The remaining 4 Arab League members are categorized as being “Partly Free” being countries which are defined as :
“characterised by some restrictions on political rights and civil liberties - often in the context of corruption, weak rule of law, ethnic strife or civil law.”
Israel is the only State in the Middle East that is identified as being “Free“ meaning:
“a country where there is broad scope for open political political competition, a climate of respect for civil liberties, significant independent civic life and independent media”.
As Latin American States apparently fall over themselves to accord recognition to a non-existent Palestinian State in total contravention of international law as prescribed by the Montevideo Convention - it is time for them - and others who might be similarly minded - to ponder
1. what kind of State they are promoting and
2. the extent to which such State does not accord with the principles laid down in the Road Map - the basis on which all negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have been conducted for the last seven years under the auspices of America, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations
The Road Map articulated that any such Palestinian State must be “democratic” as was made clear by the following provisions:
“A two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism, when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror and willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty, and through Israel’s readiness to do what is necessary for a democratic Palestinian state to be established…
A settlement, negotiated between the parties, will result in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors.”
The Freedom House Report notes that the Palestinian Authority controls up to 40% of the West Bank territory and 98% of the Palestinian population outside of East Jerusalem. Hamas controls 100% of Gaza as well as its entire population.
Any signs of a a leadership acting decisively to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty in either the West Bank or Gaza is totally absent according to the Freedom House Report.
The current push for recognition of “Palestine” as an independent State is becoming an exercise in creating yet another State whose citizens will continue to be denied the basic freedoms and civil liberties that are currently enjoyed by some of its current democratic proponents - Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.
That was clearly not the objective of the Road Map - to which those Latin American States gave their support in 2003.
Since it still supposedly remains the only game in town prescribing the “two-state solution” - the Road Map is rapidly ending up as a document that
1. is not worth the paper it is written on
2. espouses a democratic state that will not be achieved and
3. has been rejected as the basis of a two-state solution by some democratic countries who have now decided to assign the civilian populations of the West Bank and Gaza to the same fate as all the surrounding Arab populations in the Middle East Arab States.
The Arab League meantime fails to recognize Israel and pursues campaigns encouraging boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel - whilst at the same time its member states deny their populations the political rights and civil liberties that are enjoyed by Israel’s population - including the 20% of Israel’s population that is Arab.
The Freedom House report stands as a monument to the eternal shame of the Arab League and to those democratic countries who have been seduced into accepting the Arab League’s spurious hate campaign to eradicate the State of Israel.
Fareed Zakaria - the host of CNN’s flagship foreign affairs show, Editor-at-Large of TIME Magazine, a Washington Post columnist, and a New York Times bestselling author described by Esquire Magazine as “the most influential foreign policy adviser of his generation.” - says of the Freedom House Report:
“While there are many sources of economic data, good political data is hard to find. Freedom House’s survey is an exception. For anyone concerned with the state of freedom, or simply with the state of the world, Freedom in the World is an indispensible guide.”
Those democratic States ignoring the clear message contained in the Report and abandoning the signposting in the Road Map are not doing themselves - or the cause of liberating long suffering Arab populations denied their basic political rights and civil liberties - any favours.