Thursday, January 26, 2006

So, Hamas Won After All.

I know I said I really didn't care who won the Palestinian elections, because terrorists are in control of Israel either way, but, to be honest, Hamas controlling the Palestinian government changes a lot more than I was willing to admit. This is much worse than Fatah winning. But at least the pretense of the "peaceful Palestinian majority" has finally been dropped.

Many are hailing this election as a major breakthrough when it comes to democracy in the "occupied territories," and while I share those sentiments, I'm also viewing it as a major step backwards. Why? Because the Palestinians missed yet another opportuniy to prove to the rest of the world that they don't support terrorism or those who do, which is what Abbas and the rest of the PA claim whenever Palestinians kill innocent Israeli civilians. I guess they still haven't been able to find anyone to lead them who won't consider using wanton violence to get them a state. Go figure.

No matter how you look at it, the majority of Palestinians aren't really willing to take a stand against terrorists: Either opposition to terrorism wasn't even on the priority lists of most Palestinians who voted, and they'll readily overlook what groups like Hamas stand for as long as it gets them an honest, "ethical" government in return, or Hamas is being rewarded now because most Palestinians believe its campaign of violence against Israeli civilians is what forced Israel to leave Gaza, and they want to see more of the same. Unilateral disengagement encourages terrorism, and this is why I was so opposed to it.

Either way, democracy comes with responsibilities, and as a result, the Palestinians can no longer blame their statelessness on Israel, or leaders like Abbas and Arafat, alone. A vote for Hamas is a vote for terrorism and for Israel's destruction, and negotiating with terrorists is not an option. It should now be quite obvious to the Palestinians that they can no longer claim to be powerless and expect everyone else to believe them. Because they did use their collective voice and pretty much said-- "We, the people of Palestine, support those who want Israel's destruction, even if we don't want it ourselves."

As for Hamas, it can follow one of two roads: Lose its militant stance toward Israel and recognize its right to exist, which many are predicting will happen as it assumes reponsibility over civil functions in the areas under its control. Or rule as a theocracy, oppress those who don't fall in line with their fundamentalist Islamic policies, and continue to ally itself with Iran, in which case Israel, and the U.S. will be forced to take serious action against it. The latter option seems more likely. The Palestinians will be led even further down the road to self-destruction, and they'll only have themselves to blame.

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