Democratic states have the right to allow or ban the participation of political parties that represent undemocratic ideologies at their own discretion according to the perceived danger posed by those parties to the democratic institutions. A good example to illustrate this point would be the future political configuration that will eventually arise in Palestine. People often point to the partial islamisation of the palestinian cause that happened in the mid 80’s as a major obstacle to the evolution of Israel from a “jewish demographic state” to a democratic state for all the peoples who inhabit that troubled region. And they are damn right. But we need to make an important distinction here between “politics” in walled arab enclaves surrounded by electrified fences and patrolled by armed sodiers and aircrafts with permission to shoot to kill any “trespasser” and politics in a democratic state. To demmand democratic standards (ban on theocratic parties) from elections held in the West Bank and Gaza is as absurd as demmanding these same democratic standards from elections held in the Warsaw Ghetto or in the Bantustans of South Africa. The native people of Palestine live under the boot of a racial dictatorship and “elections” held in arab Bantustans means nothing. But when the region of Palestine is finally democratised it’ll be a whole different story. A healthy democratic state in Palestine cannot allow not even the existence of ideological excrements like HAMAS and ISLAMIC JIHAD, let alone their participation in any democratic election even if the real power at the federal level is held by a coalition of jewish and arab leaders monitored by the international community as it will probably be. A little aside: Palestinians need to come to terms with the fact that palestinian nationalism will have to be compromised in order to overcome the two state solution they will never accept. What do I mean by “palestinian nationalism will have to be compromised”? In this future democratic, unitary state they will be allowed to move freely and live anywhere they want in their historical homeland, but they will never be able to exercise majority rule over Palestine in the same way black south africans do (one man, one vote). Due to the history of persecution of the jewish people they will have to accept limited sovereignty and self-determination at the federal level under the supervision of the international community. OK, back to islamic parties. If I had to choose between the perpetuation of Israel or see the jewish people living under islamic law I would choose the racial dictatorship in a heartbeat. Fortunately, this is a false dichotomy. The deislamisation of the palestinian cause is a perfectly achievable goal. The palestinian struggle was an utterly secular movement until the mid 80’s when frustration with the failure to solve the issue in a timely manner (as well as israeli manipulation) led to its partial islamisation The palestinian struggle to live in the western part of their homeland precedes its partial islamisation in more than 30 years. It existed long before HAMAS was founded and will continue to exist after its dissolution. Anyway, this is an absolute requirement to solve this issue. Without the total disapearance of all palestinian islamic parties, the end of the armed struggle and the beginning of a long process of reconciliation and forgiveness between the two ethnic groups that will likely take decades to be completed, one can’t even begin discussing the peaceful dismantlement of Israel and the democratisation of Palestine. Will this new state be a fully democratic one despite the ban on islamic (and jewish) religious parties? You bet.