Palestine (MNN) — For the first time in over a decade, Palestine plans to hold elections this May. The elections will decide both parliament positions and the president. The UN has signaled support for the process, hoping it means increased democracy and equal rights for all.
But several obstacles stand in the way. Many authorities in the region seem content with the status quo. As a result, Palestinians suffering in lockdown and poverty have pushed for new elections.
Dr. Jonathan Kuttab with Bethlehem Bible College explains. “A lot of people are very dissatisfied with the current Palestinian leadership. And the leadership knows it. Some people are skeptical whether [the elections] will actually take place or whether at the last minute, they will be called off. Certainly, there have been rumblings that if Hamas refuses to carry out the elections (In Gaza) we won’t do them. Or if Israel doesn’t allow us to do elections in East Jerusalem, we won’t do them.”
Kuttab describes what Palestinians would like to see in new leadership. “They want a leadership that is honest, they want leadership that works for their interests, rather than for the personal interests of the politicians. They want leadership that represents their desires, their needs, that looks out for their interests.”
The Christian community
Palestinian Christians hope free and fair elections do take place, and that they will result in a more peaceful community. Kuttab says, “We would like leadership that is as committed as we are to peace and non-violence. Palestinian Christians tend to be pacifist. We believe you’re supposed to love your enemy, not kill them. And that’s true for Christians of all denominations in Palestine.”
In a turbulent time, ask God to strengthen Palestinian Christians. And pray many will see their witness and be drawn to Christ. Kuttab says, “As Christians, we are in the world, but we are not of the world. We are concerned about what happens in politics, but we don’t let that dominate our lives. Out allegiance, firstly, is to Jesus.”
The header photo shows Gaza city in the Gaza strip. The photo was taken in 2007, about a year after the last Palestinian elections. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)