Mahmoud Abbas should leave power based on democracy. But he is in power by support from Israel and US.

Why do not US and Israel support democracy in Palestine?

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    There is not really a question here. There is an arguement being made for a right of self determination for Palistine but not really a question. SE works because we have questions and answers. This does not fit that model. Jul 28, 2014 at 13:33
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    This aged well. How may elections did Hamas hold in the territory they control? Oct 22, 2023 at 23:15
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    @Fizz I'd say that they were never allowed to embrace and participate in a democratic environment. Later, when Hamas won a major election, Fatah was urged by the US to attack them. Result was a civil war between Palestinians. Naturally Hamas concluded that democratic politics didn't matter when those with bigger guns determine the politics, and determined violent politics was the only solution in such a political environment. There is evidence that Hamas was propped up by Israel itself to split Palestinian polity.
    – sfxedit
    Oct 23, 2023 at 23:01
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    Voting not to close: This question is nearly 10 years old and it is relevant to its timeline - There is credible evidence today that the US (and Israel) were taken aback and didn't accept Hamas' electoral victory and the US backed Fatah to military attack and destroy it after Hamas won a major election resulting in a bloody civil war that Fatah lost.
    – sfxedit
    Oct 23, 2023 at 23:06

3 Answers 3


The premise of your question is incorrect. The current Hamas regime in Gaza was not democratically elected. Hamas took power in Gaza in 2007 after purging political dissidents and expelling Fatah, the opposition party. The Israeli blockade only started after Hamas' takeover of Gaza.

You're also not correct that Abbas does not have popular support. Though he has, in an undemocratic manner, unilaterally extended his term of office, the most recent approval polls I could find indicate that he has a 58% approval rating. In an actual democracy, elections would be held to determine whether Abbas should continue to stay in office, but the Palestinians failing to hold elections does not constitute a lack of respect for democracy on the part of the US or Israel.

That said, you can see DVK's answer for a list of reasons why the US and Israel would be more inclined to support Abbas over Hamas, even if that were not democratic.

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    -1 for obfuscating facts - In 2006, the legislative elections held in OPT resulted in a shocking, landslide victory for Hamas. The elections was fairly conducted and Hillary Clinton is said to have commented that the US should have rigged the elections! (1/2)
    – sfxedit
    Oct 21, 2023 at 19:03
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    Clinton weighed in about the result, which was a resounding victory for Hamas (74 seats) over the U.S.-preferred Fatah (45 seats). "I do not think we should have pushed for an election in the Palestinian territories. I think that was a big mistake," said Sen. Clinton. "And if we were going to push for an election, then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win." - 2006 Audio Emerges of Hillary Clinton Proposing Rigging Palestine Election. (2/2)
    – sfxedit
    Oct 21, 2023 at 19:05

@Baard's Kopperud's answer is mostly correct. Countries generally act in their own self interest, and only secondary based on ideology.

So, let's see what Israel's choices are:

  1. Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah.

    • At least nominally[1], renounced terrorism (not really that simple, but details are outside the scope of the question).

    • At least nominally, claim - in English[2] - to support Israel's right to exist.

      [1] - Palestinian national charter still (despite Clinton and Arafat's English-only statements to the contrary) contains the goals of destruction of Israel (articles 19, 20, 21, 22). I covered it in detail in my answer on Skeptics here, the exact quote of #19 for example is: "The partition of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of Israel is null and void from the very beginning, whatever time has elapsed because it was done contrary to the wish of the people of Palestine and their national right to their homeland and contradicts with the principles embodied in the charter of the UN, the first of which is the right of self- determination

      [2] - there are entire websites like Palestinian Media Watch filled with numerous examples of PA government - via media, school books and the government people - denying Israel's right to exist

  2. Hamas.

    • Is at its core a terrorist organization, fully officially supporting terrorist attacks on civilians, perpetrating rocket attacks on cities, and kidnappings as political tools

    • More importantly, fully and openly committed to destroying Israel and throwing all Jews into the sea.

      See tons of details here. Or here quoting Hamas leader.

Given these choices, simple common sense and self-preservarion dictates opposing Hamas and supporting Fatah.

As far as support for democracy: Hitler was sorta-kinda democratically elected too (ok, that's an oversimplification) and had an overwhelming support of German populace while in power. Doesn't seem to generate any desperately curious queries why USA or Great Britain opposed him.

Going outside politics, in a more ethical/moral realm: Democracy and self determination for a nation is akin to personal freedom for an individual. But said freedom does not exist in abstract, outside of the consequences of one's choices and action. Your question is akin to asking: "If you support an individual's freedom, why do you support putting criminals in jail?". Because they chose to abuse their freedom in ways detrimental to you/society. If Palestinian people choose to democratically elect a terrorist organization whose main goal is destruction of Israel, their choice gets ignored.

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    – yannis
    Oct 6, 2017 at 18:00

The USA is - like most countries - mostly concerned with their own security. Yes, they like to appear as being champions of freedom and democracy; but have a rather long record of supporting right-wing dictators, overthrowing democratically elected left-wing politicians, initiating coups, and helping squelch uprising against dictators.

In short, the USA is very for democracy in other countries, but only as long as the people chooses "right" - ie. chooses the candidate the USA support.

Take the "Arab Spring"... The USA supported fights for democracy in some countries, but not (for long) in Egypt - of course in Egypt, the "dictator" was a strong supporter of USA and also somewhat a supporter of USA's allay Israel.

You've right, Hamas won the Palestinan election, but Fatha refused to relinquish power... and as the USA felt the Palestinan people had voted "wrong", they ignored the election and supported Fatha. IMHO Israel had it self to thank for Hamas election-victory, as they refused to give Fatha, PLO and Arafath any real victories - which of course eroded the Palestinan people's trust in Fathah.

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    Pretty good answer, but you conveniently left out the actual reason Israel prefers Abbas - Hamas's official stated goal is wiping out Israel off the map and Jews into the sea. Naturally, they don't give a fig towards Palestinian election results given who they elected, out of simple sense of self preservation.
    – user4012
    Jul 28, 2014 at 15:39
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    @DVK As long as Israel continue their occupation, Hamas is more of resistance-movement than a terrorist-organization... though I understand the confusion, Hitler too had problems distinguishing between "resistance" and "terrorist". Whatever is in Hamas' charter, it seems Israel has more success "wiping out" Palestine and the Palestinians than the other way around... I doubt Hamas' goal was ever very realistic. Half of Palestinian land was stolen by the WWII-victors and given to Jewish refugees - against the wishes of the majority who lived there... It's easy to also understand Hamas' pov. Jul 29, 2014 at 10:53
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    @BaardKopperud Israel is not occupying Gaza, but even if it were, that's independent of whether Hamas is a terrorist group. Hamas is a terrorist group because it targets civilians. It deliberately murders civilians for political gain. That's what defines a terrorist group: tactics, not goals.
    – Publius
    Jul 29, 2014 at 19:12
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    @DVK, Gaza is part of Palestine! Do you think Palestinians should continue to allow Israelis to isolate them into small segregated communities so that they can defeat and dominate them each by each?
    – infatuated
    Aug 2, 2014 at 19:24
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    @Moudiz Yeah, the use of human shields does explain their deaths. Israel clearly does not target civilians because it takes active measures to prevent civilians from being hit. Even if Israel were acting recklessly, that still would not constitute terrorism, though either way, it's beside the point.
    – Publius
    Aug 4, 2014 at 18:23

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