Millennium Post

Of nationalism and elections

Of nationalism and elections

Turkey was appalled when Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu announced his pledge to annex Jordan Valley if he is elected to power again in the upcoming polls. Jordan Valley is the eastern-most part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank that borders Jordan. Terming such a proposition as dangerous and racist, the Turkish government regards itself as a champion of the Palestinian cause and has never shied away from criticising Israel. Netanyahu's intention to annex Israeli settlements in the wider West Bank upon his re-election, however, speaks of matters beyond Israel-Palestine conflict. The Turkish Foreign minister expressed through a tweet that "The election promise of Netanyahu, who is giving all kind of illegal, unlawful and aggressive messages before the election, is a racist apartheid state". He went on to add that "Will defend rights and interests of our Palestinian brothers&sisters till the end". As expected, for the Palestinian people, Netanyahu's statement came as a threat to any hopes of peace. Israeli PM's bombastic announcement is indeed a cynical play of electorally motivated right-wing nationalism and this brings to the table some discussion over furthering the cause of right-wing politics in general. In the Indian context, a parallel may be drawn with its Hindu nationalist government realising its aim to disempower Article 370 which conferred special status to J&K. In a very dramatic move, the Indian government bifurcated the state and turned Ladakh and J&K into UTs. This constitutional provision was in many ways discriminating and alienating, systemically separating the people of J&K from the rest of India. The idea to do away with such a provision and bring that state at equivalence with all other Indian states resonated with the common Indian to a great extent. And upon achieving the target, the country to be most unsettled by this was Pakistan, pretending concern for the Kashmiri people when all it really cares about is the territory. The Indian government, however, accomplished this by way of not just fulfilling a promise but keeping in mind the best interest of the common people of the region. Exploiting sentiments of nationalism for electoral gain is no new thing but outraging sentiments of people is not justified. The way to calm uproars is to promise and deliver development.

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