Fayyad’s Folly: Disarming His Own People

In the Washington Post’s latest attempt to adequately illustrate the complex political issues regarding Israeli/Palestinian relations, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was highlighted as a “technocrat” steadily gaining political ground thought military concessions. A strategy that alienates Hamas, the other major player in Palestinian politics, Fayyad disturbingly argued, “[T]he state should have sole purview over arms and weapons. There is no statehood and armed militias at the same time. It is a contradiction.”

If this statement were true, the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution would prevent it from being a state. Guess what, Mr. Technocrat? The U.S. is state.

As a matter of constitutional rights in America, the Second Amendment secures society’s right to “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”. Described by the US Constitution, militias are a necessity to a “free State”. Although Fayyad is effectively courting the Israeli government in the hopes they may be granted political autonomy, he is ignoring the Palestinian right to defend themselves both from a foreign occupation, such as Israel’s, and from tyrannical leadership by their own people, such as …. Well, we’ll leave that to the readers’ imagination. The Founding Fathers correctly believed that  the people have a right to overthrow their government. Militias provide a check on otherwise unlimited power by one’s governing body. To quote Libertarian Party founder David Nolan, “The Second Amendment is not about duck hunting.”

In the not-so-hidden agenda behind Fayyad’s perspective, Hamas is naturally juxtaposed as an enemy under this logic. Although militias can be somewhat problematic, e.g., those who engage in racist or terrorist rhetoric, the history of the U.S. has demonstrated that malicious activities can be addressed through normal laws against criminal activity, and do not require taking arms away from the law-abiding. Groups that exceed the law can be dealt with according to the particular criminal acts they perpetrate without Draconian measures of disarmament that only ensures impunity to a state that oppresses its own people.

Fayyad is playing a dangerous game of Russian Roulette with his power plays. By continuing to limit armed West-Bank efforts against Israel, he is gambling that Fatah will remain in power and Israel will continue to offer special treatment to the West Bank and will avoid a suffocating blockade as experienced in Gaza. Beyond its naivete, this policy threatens reconciliation efforts between Fatah and Hamas, an essential element to peace and Palestinian Statehood.

Fayyad’s tactics seem predicated on a strategy of making the occupation palatable rather than making occupation impossible. Rather than defending rights inherent in any free society, Fayyad bets that conceding Palestinian freedom will appease the Israeli occupier. Fayyad has it backwards. Armed militias and statehood are not a contradiction, but a free state that denies the people’s  right to keep and bear arms is a contradiction. There can be no stronger guarantee that a state has the consent of the governed than that it has no fear of an armed populace.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D., President
Imran Malik, Program Assistant
Minaret of Freedom Institute


Minaret of Freedom Institute Program Assistant

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