It was coup against coup this week in the Territories of Palestine. Or something.
The Palestinian lands are governed as a constitutional republic, with a strong president and a prime minister chosen from an elected legislature. It used to be a one-man show under the late Mr. Arafat, but the western powers pressured him to liberalize, and thus a democratic constitution was cobbled together.
But the democracy backfired rather spectacularly last year, as we all know. The Hamas party, which is an openly terrorist organization that vows to wage perpetual war against the filthy Jew, was elected to a majority in the Palestinian parliament. President Mahmood Abbas was thus forced to honor the will of the voters, and appointed Hamas leader Ismail Haniya as prime minister.
But Palestinian politics is not terribly sophisticated, and bi-partisan cohabitation between executive and legislative branches was not embraced as... maturely as we may have hoped.
Earlier this week Hamas thugs took control of the President's office in the Gaza Strip and filed through his belongings in a comical manner. The President himself fled to the West Bank, and on June 14 he announced that Prime Minister Haniya was being fired for insubordination. Abbas also dissolved parliament and declared martial law, with himself henceforth ruling by decree. The next day he hastily appointed Salam Fayyad as the new PM. Mr. Fayyad is an American-educated diplomat who had previously been finance minister in the Hamas government, even though he himself was not a member of the party.
But Haniya has not accepted his firing. According to a Hamas spokesman:
“Lawfully, the Haniya government is still the legal Palestinian government, and it will continue its activities in all areas and will remain in power until the formation of a new government by the Palestinian legislative assembly.”So now we have a good old fashioned case of feuding regimes! President Abbas is stuck in the West Bank and Haniya is stuck in the Gaza Strip, but both claim to be the sole ruler of all of Palestine. Of course this kind of thing tends to happen in any politically polarized nation where the nation's territories are so ridiculously geographically divided, as we see on this map:
If trends continue we might end up with two Palestines. A house divided against itself cannot stand, someone once said.
Fujimori back in the news
Now here's an interesting story.
The most successful immigrant politician in world history is probably Alberto Fujimori. His parents were both immigrants from Japan who immigrated to Peru in the 1930's. Despite being a racial minority, Alberto became a very successful politician, and in 1990 was elected President. But he was crooked and wicked and ruled as a tyrant.
In 2000 there was a crooked election, which Fujimori claimed to win, but the public rejected. There were big protests, and Fujimori fled Peru and went to Japan, faxing his resignation to the Congress from Tokyo.
Fujimori never returned to Peru, largely in order to escape legal persecution for various crimes committed during his time in office. Now, apparently, he wants to run for a seat in the Japanese Senate.
I would be cautious if I was the Japanese.