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Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Palestinians have spoken...

I had written another post this morning that was scheduled to be published after lunch... but in light of some local political developments, I think I'll put it aside for another day.

It seems that Fatah officials have officially acknowledged Hamas' victory in the Palestinian elections which confirms rumors that have been circulating since early this morning of a Hamas majority win.

This Hamas victory fundamentally (yes, pun intended) invalidates three basic assumptions I've developed about the Palestinian 'street' over the two-and-a-half years we've been living here:

1.  I had come to believe that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians did not support armed conflict with Israel, terror attacks against Israelis or the goal of destroying Israel.

2.  I had believed the data I'd read indicating that the Palestinian population supported the secularization of their society and did not embrace the fundamentalist Islam position concerning Israel and non-Muslims.

3.  I had attributed support for, and the actual participation in, the terrorism/violence to a tiny sub-set of the Palestinian people.

I am devastated to have been proven so utterly and completely wrong about all three of these basic assumptions.

I know there will be many apologists who will come out in the coming hours and days to say that Hamas only won because of all their humanitarian projects in the refugee camps and because they are seen as 'Robin Hoods' of sorts among the populace.

I know there will be many that will say that a vote for Hamas was more an expression of the Palestinian's dissatisfaction with the corruption and ineptitude of the current Fatah-led PA than an overt endorsement of terrorism.

I'm sure there will even be those who say that it is at least a good sign that the Palestinians were able to participate in one of the basic rites of democracy, indicating an amazing step in the right direction that can never retraced.

But all I see is that Hamas, the group that has never wavered from its founding charter calling loudly for the complete destruction of Israel and the creation of a Palestinian State in its place, has become the banner around which the majority of the Palestinian people have chosen to rally.

This wasn't some renegade Imam screaming in a mosque.

This wasn't some embattled politician making a hot-headed speech while fighting for his political (or actual) life.

This wasn't an ill-advised statement issued in the aftermath of an Israeli targeted killing of a 'militant'.

In a legally executed, internationally supervised democratic process, the majority of Palestinian adults calmly and thoughtfully committed themselves to pursuing a one-state solution built on the ashes of a defeated Israel.

There can no longer remain the fiction of the the Palestinian majority who silently wish for coexistence with The Jewish State... if only Israel will allow them to fulfill their dream of self-determination. What these election results declare loud and clear is that the Palestinians intend to make their national dream Israel's worst nightmare.

When pundits have extrapolated a national consensus from the actions of a few violent groups, I have always been among the calmer heads who have maintained that without a national referendum we have no way of knowing what the Palestinians really think.

This victory doesn't now mean that every Palestinian is a Hamas terrorist any more than a Likud victory meant that every Israeli was in favor of Ariel Sharon's vision for Israel's future.  In fact, we've all seen how people can vote for one thing and get quite another.  However voting for a particular leadership places an electorate in the position of accepting the future actions of those leaders.  That's democracy at work.

So when the majority of Palestinians tell me with their words and deeds that they have committed their future to Hamas' vision of Israel's destruction... then I have no choice but to take them at their word.

The world has been asking me to listen to the Palestinians and not to the terrorists.  Well, the Palestinians have spoken.

219_22

Posted by David Bogner on January 26, 2006 | Permalink

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» Blogschau from Letters from Rungholt
Ich sehe, daß die meisten Blogger, die ich regelmäßig lese, mein Entsetzen teilen und die bittere Einsicht, daß das nun wirklich das deutliche Votum der Palästinenser war - keine Extremisten, keine Minderheit, keine Außenseiter. [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 26, 2006 2:44:29 PM

» In a Word from Somewhere on A1A...
Well thirty-two words exactly, at Treppenwitz: In a legally executed, internationally supervised democratic process, the majority of Palestinian adults calmly and thoughtfully committed themselves to pursuing a one-state solution built on the ashes of ... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 26, 2006 2:53:31 PM

» THE ROAD (MAP) TO HELL... from Blog d'Elisson
...is paved with good intentions. Democracy, we Westerners like to think, is an unalloyed Good Thing, and spreading it to the benighted corners of the Mideast where it does not exist – pretty much every place except Israel – is a positive developm... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 26, 2006 9:30:43 PM

» A Hamas Win is Good for Israel from Cross-Currents
No, this isnt crazy. As my brother-in-law already said: The Hamas win is bad news only to the PA thugocracy, and to misguided naifs that maintain the fantasy that any of the Palestinian leadership ever had goals other than the total destructi... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 27, 2006 5:13:48 AM

» More Election Fall-Out from An Unsealed Room
There are reports all over on the Hamas victory in the Palestinian election. In my humble opinion, the best accounts from an "insider" -- hands down -- are Laila's reports on her blog and her five-part series in the Guardian.... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 27, 2006 5:52:36 PM

» More Election Fall-Out from An Unsealed Room
There are reports all over on the Hamas victory in the Palestinian election. In my humble opinion, the best accounts from an "insider" -- hands down -- are Laila's reports on her blog and her five-part series in the Guardian.... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 27, 2006 5:56:39 PM

» Worth reading on the hamas victory from Soccer Dad
Ankle Biting Pundits are hopeful that In the long run, the election results of yesterday may be a necessary step in convincing the Palestinians that a Hamas-led Palestinian Authority sounded a lot better in theory than it will ever be... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 30, 2006 9:55:34 AM

Comments

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There can no longer remain the fiction of the the Palestinian majority who silently wish for coexistence with The Jewish State

If I had a nickel for every time those words were spoken, only for the fiction to arise, yet again, and again, and again.

How naive can you be? How many times do the Palestinians have to scream into their muezzins to kill all the Jews and Americans, to dance over every wounded Israel, and to reject every peace proposal?

How many times do they have to shout in your face that they will not accept the loss of a single square inch, not recognize Israel, not remove the call for destruction from their charter, not negotiate on rights of the enitre land to the sea, and then as a step to the rest of the world?

How many times do you have to listen to members of the Palestinian factions from one side to the other define the word "peace" as "armed uprising until the Israelis leave"? Sure they want peace - if you forget what the word peace actually means.

But guess, what? The fiction will return, as the Europeans, Russians, Indians, Japanese, and so on make gestures to the new goverment, declare a difference between the political and military wings of Hamas, and eventually say that "it is better to move forward than to do nothing" and "if we just end the occupation, surely there will be peace". A comfortable fiction cannot be beaten down by an uncomfortable reality.

Yehuda

Posted by: Yehuda Berlinger | Jan 26, 2006 1:16:39 PM

Maybe that was a little harsh: there certainly are Palestinians who just want to get on with their lives.

Unfortunately, none of then is anywhere near the political process; not in Fatah, and not in Hamas. I, for one, am glad that Hamas won; it helps to demystify the lie that Fatah is somehow more of a peace partner.

Yehuda

Posted by: Yehuda Berlinger | Jan 26, 2006 1:25:02 PM

I thought it was a good post, and I share most of your reactions. Even if Fatah were elected, it wasn't going to usher in an age of regional peace. There is a long road ahead no matter what. But it is dispiriting nonetheless to realize the Palestinians are pretty happy with this spot on the road, at least for now, and hope to go the opposite direction.

Posted by: AbbaGav | Jan 26, 2006 2:16:34 PM

I don't think I agree with your post -- not to say that you are wrong (in fact you are right but that's not the cause of Hamas's victory) but rather I don't think most people voted for Hamas out of an anti-Israel bias (after all, the other parties/terror groups are just as anti-Israel) rather I think it has to do with issues of governance of Palestinian society.

The Palestinian Authority is a notoriously corrupt goverance structure and many Palestinians are actually worse off than they were under Israeli occupation. Rather, Hamas, through its social services, has been able to provide services and charity and needed things to the Palestinian populace (which serves to make it more popular hence this victory and also gains it support and recruits to its terrorist activities -- hence I am not justifying or seperating the social services from the terror activities) and it has pushed for greater accountability within the Palestinian Authority and its governance structure.

There has been much frustration on the Pal street of PA corruption and inefficiency which Hamas capitalized on.

That, and not a desire to kill Jews (again -- that's a consensus item), is to blame for Hamas's victory. Not to say their terrorism hurt them.

Posted by: amechad | Jan 26, 2006 3:41:05 PM

Do we know how 'kosher' the election was?

For all we know it could have been run along the same lines as the JIB awards.

Posted by: Jeru Guru | Jan 26, 2006 3:43:59 PM

The more concrete and irrefutable the proof, the louder some people will sing, the further they will stick their fingers in their ears, and the tighter they will screw their eyes shut. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can't win with some people. We played by the rules, as always, and here's our reward. Enjoy it, people. At least it wasn't just sprung upon us as a complete surprise.

Posted by: tnspr569 | Jan 26, 2006 3:47:12 PM

I'll just agree with amechad on this one, following what Palestinian press I can, reasons for voting are varied, safety on the "street" was a big issue and yes the whole "they suck lets see what these other guys can do" reason for voting seem to be strong. Democracy is new to these guys, they don't have much experience with the "reap what you sow" world of politics.

That said, yes it is frightening for Israelis, and I hope that everything is OK for all of you over there (and for my family). I hope that a calm "wait and see" approach will prevail; groups and parties tend to behave differently when they are the opposition and when they are in power. Hamas might surprise us.

Posted by: Lisoosh | Jan 26, 2006 4:25:48 PM

A well-articulated post, David, but I also must disagree with you. I do not believe electing Hamas into power was a vote to destroy Israel, but rather a vote of no confidence in Fatah. Why do you discount the possibility that the Palestinians voted for Hamas because of the social welfare programs they institute? It seems to me they are looking for what will make their lives better in the short term, with little regard for the larger picture. That Hamas is committed to the eradication of Israel is just a "bonus" for the extremists. Regardless, I am sorely disappointed, and not a little angry. Waiting with some trepidation as to how this will play out on the world stage and in Israel itself...interesting times...

Posted by: mcaryeh | Jan 26, 2006 4:38:46 PM

I wanted to believe the same thing. That the loudest lunatic is the one who is always heard, and the quiet peaceful men have better things to do than shriek for the camera. We all search for the best in people, even our enemies. Sometimes, the best simply isn't there.

Posted by: Tanya | Jan 26, 2006 4:52:55 PM

Does it really matter who won?

http://joesettler.blogspot.com/2006/01/cutting-out-middle-man.html

Posted by: JoeSettler | Jan 26, 2006 4:59:13 PM

Seems kind of ironic to me... Hamas' victory in the Palestinian elections virtually on the eve of The International Holocaust Remembrance Day...

Posted by: Regina Clare Jane | Jan 26, 2006 5:05:29 PM

While I cannot tell you why the palestinians voted for Hamas, I can agree with the others above that there is no reason to assume that destruction of the State of Israel was the reason either. In fact, Poll after poll shows that the palestinians oppose violence as a means of political expression, albeit for pragmatic not ideological reasons. This is a clue to the sensitivity of Hamas to the palestinian "street." Hamas as a matter of policy opposes the state of Israel, but they have also kept to their agreement not to send suicide bombers into israel as well, starting in March 2004. While they may not enjoy not killing us, they are willing to respond to the desire of the civilain population not to use violence at this time as a tool of politics.
Hamas are no angels, but I have the feeling that if they do say they will do something, or sign any kind of agreement, they will stick to it.
Israel has had much bigger problems recently from Islamic Jihad, Hizbollah, and Al Aksa Martyrs.

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | Jan 26, 2006 5:33:08 PM

Daniel Pipes commented on the differences between Fatah and Hamas.

On the key question of their attitude toward Israel, Fatah is willing to negotiate with Israel to gain territory and other benefits, while Hamas on principle refuses to deal with the "Zionist entity." But the difference is between them is mostly illusory, as Fatah in fact engages in terrorism and Hamas does talk to the Israelis.

For reasons that somewhat escape my understanding, on this basis, Fatah is dubbed moderate and Hamas extremist; or, in the even more dramatic terms of an Associated Press headline today, "Palestinians choose between pursuing peace or confrontation with Israel." In fact, the differences between them are merely tactical; a more accurate headline would be "Palestinians choose between pursuing more overt or more covert destruction of Israel." Basically, Hamas speaks its mind and Fatah dares not. And Hamas provides the social services that Fatah cannot because its honchos have stolen the funds.

Posted by: Jack | Jan 26, 2006 6:10:20 PM

The wonderful thing about the many Palestinians I have met in Israel is that they are sincerely guided by belief and commitment to their religious lifestyle. This is why they speak boldly, with conviction, and without fear.

When our village was developing arguments for the court as to why the security fence should be placed further away from us than the government had delineated, our security committee actually surreptitiously tape-recorded several Friday sermons in the Arab villages next to us top use as evidence of the danger. Mind you, approximately 450 of these folks come to our town every day to work, and there has been a mostly peaceful relationship between us for 20 years.

The tape recordings were shocking. The language was so harsh and direct that some people thought the tapes were doctored. They want us dead, brutally so, and won't stop until every Jew is out of this land. The congregation is told that they will enjoy the fruits of their labors, to ignore any political talk of peace, and that the results of their "liberating activities" (read - terrorism) can be seen in the actions and statements of the world, especially the confused Israelis, who believe they can settle things with talk.

No question that people voted for change. I recall another party who was victorious for the same reason - the National Socialist Party of Germany. I am sure that some commentators here, had you been alive then, would have said the same thing - the people don't want to kill Jews, they want change from a corrupt government.

I invite Lisoosh, Jordan and Amechad to tomorrow's sermon - you can sit in the front row - I guarantee it will be a doozy.

Posted by: Yonah | Jan 26, 2006 6:40:05 PM

Yonah- the same email that I mentioned previously to Scott would be of great interest to you as well. Let me know if you're interested; I believe Mr. Bogner can also forward it to you.

Posted by: tnspr569 | Jan 26, 2006 7:22:48 PM

The "vote" confirms what many of us have beieved for ages, that most Arabs hate us.

Something tells me that this outcome isn't one which had even been considered by the US, Israel, or anybody else for that matter, and I am certain that there have been some very worried faces in the corridors of power.

Posted by: Frummer??? | Jan 26, 2006 7:25:47 PM

I, for one, am not at all surprised by the fact that Hamas has won. There's been talk about it for months, but I guess most people wanted to believe that when push comes to shove, Palestinians won't choose it. I think Hamas's victory will be looked upon as a politic embarrassment to many a well-intentioned democratic leader. It's as embarrassing as the obnoxious, self-absorbed speeches of Ahmadinejad, though many have agreed he's merely stating aloud what what has been whispered all this time. In short, the victory of Hamas, in some ways is important because it's a call for confrontation. Nevertheless, it's quite possible that EU and U.S. will remain afraid of calling a spade and spade and will find a way of presenting the situation as something relatively harmless. The quesition is: how is the so-called democracy any better than an earlier support for despots all around the Middle East?

Sorry for this bitter rant, but I just can't believe how many people have been closing their eyes to what seemed to be the obvious.

Posted by: Irina | Jan 26, 2006 8:02:30 PM

Yonah - thank you for the invitation. If it was possible I would be more than happy to be there.
It is quite amazing that they were able to make the tapes - how did they do it? Have they been passed on to security services or a media outlet?

You may be right about the German National Socialist Party, although references to the Nazis always lower the tone of a debate, the fact that they perpetrated evil does not indicate that all early voters assumed or planned for an evil outcome. There are numerous examples where people and parties behaved better than expected as well as worse.
Best thing is to hope for the best while planning for the worst.

Posted by: Lisoosh | Jan 26, 2006 8:24:19 PM

Durable peace only follows decisive victories. There is no non-military solution. The alternative is the low-intensity war of attrition without end that terrorist states are good at and that demoralizes free societies.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Jan 26, 2006 9:44:03 PM

I disagree with your analysis. This is much more rejection of Fatah than it is an embrace of Hamas. The Palestinians gave Fatah every chance. I can see that most pro-Israel people, because, let's face it, it's very beneficial for us to do so, will read the election as an endorsement of everything Hamas does.

When the Israelis elected Ariel Sharon in 2001, they were not signalling an acceptance of Sabra and Chatilla and throwing the Arabs into Jordan. They were signalling disaffection with Ehud Barak. When Jimmy Carter beat Gerald Ford in 1976, it wasn't because he was such a great guy or because they were anti-Israel; it was because people were angry at the Republicans for Watergate.

Khalil Shakiki's polls continue to show that most Palestinians want a solution to the conflict (and thus it is inaccurate to say that they want to destroy Israel), and that most of them support armed attacks of some kind (and therefore inaccurate to claim that this vote is somehow a new endorsement of violence). Furthermore, most Palestinians are not in favor of an Islamic state (and it is therefore inaccurate that voting for Hamas signals that the Palestinians are Islamic fundamentalists.

Entering the political process is a big problem for Hamas, their election changes little for Israel, and hello, we don't have deal with PLO bullshit anymore.

Hamas will be forced to change or suffer the consequences. They will now be held accountable for whatever they do. No more military wing acting outside the political wing. And if they do attack, any hardship suffered by Palestinians as a result of Israeli responses will be blamed on them.

The Europeans will not be able to pooh-pooh them anymore; when was the last time you heard of European leaders uniting to tell Hamas that they were required to give up violence and recognize Israel?

There will be no more two-faced political maneuvering from Fatah, telling the West and Israel one thing and their people another.

And though I don't believe the Palestinians had any good choices, Europeans leaders are not going to be so willing to criticize Israel's actions in the territories now that Palestinians made fools out of their policy of paying the Palestinians to stay moderate.

Little changes for Israel, particularly if unilateralism continues. The point of unilateralism is that what the Palestinians do or don't do doesn't matter. We knew Fatah was doing nothing to stop suicide bombing, and in some cases abetting it. The only difference is that now, the international community can't deny the Palestinian government's complicity should suicide bombings take place.

And I might say, optimist that I am, that it is not a bad thing that the Palestinians are willing to kick out a corrupt, ineffective leadership. If they hold Hamas accountable for moving toward some agreement with Israel, as I bet they will, it will show that they did not put Hamas in power to set up an Islamic state and continue killing people.

Posted by: Michael Brenner | Jan 26, 2006 9:58:46 PM

Lisoosh - as Amechad puts it:

(after all, the other parties/terror groups are just as anti-Israel)

- and, more bluntly -

There has been much frustration on the Pal street of PA corruption and inefficiency which Hamas capitalized on.

That, and not a desire to kill Jews (again -- that's a consensus item), is to blame for Hamas's victory. Not to say their terrorism hurt them.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

... so what does it mean when Israel's destruction is a "consensus item" in Palestinian politics?

No, no, no, the Palestinians don't really want to destroy us - it's just a "consensus item" in their society... like American politicians have to kiss babies and visit African-American churches - Pali politicians simply *have* to deliver the standard kill-the-Jews line...

?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

They don't really mean it - just a cultural norm....

What an interesting - and contorted - attempt to explain away the obvious!

The only wonder is why amechad put it in parentheses... it's the central point: the entire culture is committed to a single-state solution.

Could Lisoosh, Jordan, amechad, or anyone else please explain why there is no Palestinian party that ran a dual platform of coexistence AND clean government?

Are the two mutually exclusive?

Wouldn't such a party have had great success with the "little guys" who just want to live in peace and have clean streets? After all, it's one man, one vote.

So if that really IS the mainstream opinion of most Palestinians - why didn't any canny politicians latch on to such a brilliant idea? Think how easy it would have been for such a party to get international $upport!

So why didn't it happen?


Posted by: Ben-David | Jan 26, 2006 10:05:03 PM

David, agreed. And agreed. And agreed. And also, Hamas not wanting to destroy Israel? All Jews everywhere? The Palestinians not knowing this and poor things, choosing the lesser evil? I've recently written a paper on Shechitah for Bioethics [you'd loathe it, BTW. So did I.] and pulled my Anthropology degree to say what I will say now. This little issue of cultural norms is one of the greatest fallacies of all times, especially in times that are so very PC. I don't much care abt "culture" when said "culture" condones what theirs does. The headhunters were very adamant abt their headhunting and we said a humungous collective no-no and where are they now? Drinking Coke and worrying abt their Swatches w the rest of us. This PC thingy is the most appalling thing that has befallen us, it has created a distorted filter through which every ignonimity is viewed and accepted while we desperately try to convince ourselves it is not altogether bad and look here we're all the same as we struggle to find ways to prove our uniqueness.

Frankly, no one likes or wants the Palestinians AS A WHOLE, they are for the most part uneducated and troublesome, yes? Their Arab brothers use them but could never be bothered to help them. Does the world know? Yes. Does the world care? Not at all. Uneducated people are very easy to brainwash and if we think abt what was agreed upon at Camp David and what has been happening in the intervening decade - bah.

As for Europe, do not get me started on Europe, Europe sees what it wants and I don't think we will see much of a change in the way israel is treated. Does anyone really believe that? Did the riots in France change anything really? Do you know when change will reallly happen? When buses and restaurants and the tube start being bombed on a regular basis in the same European cities, over and over again. THEN we will see change. Sadly, I don't think it lies that far ahead.

And people call ME naive. HA!

Please.

Posted by: Lioness | Jan 26, 2006 10:36:51 PM

Ben David - If you have problems with amechads statements you should probably address them to him/her.
Michael Brenner has a point about voting.
Here are the lists for the Pal elections:

The Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fatah)
The Change and Reform list (Hamas)

The Alternative list (A coalition of leftist parties)
The Third Way list (Led by technocrat Salaam Fayad and Hanan Ashrawi)
National Initiative list (Independent Palestine) (Led by former presidential candidate Mustafa Barghouthi)
The National Coalition for Justice and Democracy-"Wa'ad" (Promise. Led by Gaza psychiatrist Eyad Sarraj)

Martyr Abu Ali Mustafa list
Martyr Abu al-Abbas list
Freedom and Social Justice list
Freedom and Independence list
The Palestinian Justice list

To be honest I don't know what all of them stand for and I couldn't tell you what they say in Arabic. I do know that several mention combating corruption and a couple of independants do want to negotiate properly with Israel. They are a little handicapped by their size and their inabilily to promise much of anything concerning safety on the streets and other mundane issues that seem to concern Palestinians. I would assume that the Pals think much like any other people in that they treat votes for small parties as "wasted" - much as Libertarians vote Republican and greenies vote Democratic in the States.

I would agree though that it seems a standard in Palestinian politics that you "have to been seen as tough on the Israelis" to stand a chance. Probably as in the US it is seen as beneficial to be "tough on terror" or in Russia "tough on Chechnya" and "tough towards the world to regain our standing". It would be nice if there were an end to political machismo all over the world but I don't think I will live to see it happen.

And please note - no-one says that Hamas is great or good or a wonderful choice. Just that people have lots of reasons for voting and that you can't assume that all of the 41% (as of now) who voted for Hamas want war or to kill.

Posted by: Lisoosh | Jan 26, 2006 11:01:11 PM

I do not argue for a second that Hamas are not horrible people who ultimately want our destruction. My point is that that particular part of their platform may not be the reason they won, and it is even more likely that they will make an honest adversary who will find that the view looks a lot different when they are responsible for the everyday needs of running a society. Not all Palestinians are the same, even if they all oppose us. Thefact that Hamas won does not indicate anything other than the Palestinians felt they would address what they perceive as their needs better than Fatah.

Posted by: jordan Hirsch | Jan 26, 2006 11:02:01 PM

Oh boy, I take the evening off to have dinner with a friend and you guys have a party and trash the place! Where to begin...

Yehuda... We don't have to wait for 'the Europeans, Russians, Indians, Japanese, and so on' to make overtures to Hamas... on the way home this evening I listened to all the Israeli politicians back-pedling on their promises not to engage with Hamas until they renounce their charter calling for Israel's destruction.

AbbaGav... I don't think they are happy. But I think they took a big step in the direction of happiness today.

Amechad... While I don't agree with everything that Ben-David said, I think he answered your points as well or better than I would have... especially the part about glossing over killing Jews being a Palestinian consensus point.

Jeru Guru... From all indications it was as clean as any election in this region can be. It even had the Jimmy Carter seal of approval.

tnspr569... True. There are still people out there who will tell you with a straight face that Oslo can still work if we only give it enough time.

Lisoosh... I said in my post that there would be people who would make that statement, but I honestly didn't expect it to be you. Unfortunately 'Wait and see' is a game Israel has lost each and every time we've played it. And yes, they may be new to politics... but they are quite experienced with the 'reap what you sow' game. They are reaping the rewards of being the biggest Jew haters of the bunch. As to their ability to fight corruption, how exactly do you think that will happen? Their 'philanthropy' has been the left-overs from their terror war chest. Have they ever mentioned a plan for anything to do with state-building? So far the only thing I've heard from them is about state destroying.

Mcaryeh... If what you are saying is true than the Palestinians have traded a weak, ineffectual leadership for a strongman, fundamentalist regime. How soon before they start instituting Muslim law... mandatory dress codes... the formal call for holy war?

Tanya... There are good Palestinians... a lot of them. Unfortunately not enough of them to win an election.

Joe Settler... In many ways it doesn't. But this result kicked out a lot of beliefs I'd built up recently.

Regina Clare Jane... In that respect it wouldn't have mattered much who won. Abbas has a PHD in Holocaust denial.

Jordan... You sound like one of my coworkers. He says that just as it took Begin to formally recognise the Palestinians and Sharon to Disengage from Gaza... only a strong right-wing militant leadership can take the Palestinians in an unexpected direction. I don't agree... but I would be the happiest guy on the block if I am proven wrong.

Jack... Thanks for sharing that... I hadn't read it before.

Yonah... I was going to chide you for breaking Godwin's Law , in this narrow case there is a clear parallel between what people have been saying here about the Palestinians voting in a bad group because they are promising law and order and prosperity. It does sound a lot like the reason the German's chose Hitler despite his 'other' ideas.

Frummer???... Now the EU, the US and anyone else who said they would cut of the $ if Hamas won is faced with a very difficult decision. They can't really follow through for the same reason Israel can't just turn off the electricity to Gaza: It would be a humanitarian (not to mention PR) disaster. Yet if they don't follow through they lose leverage and credibility.

Irina... Maybe your crystal ball worked better than mine. :-) Seriously, I wanted so badly to believe that this couldn't happen. I even chided my wife this morning when she read me the headline of an editorial in the Jerusalem Post that talked about Hamas' victory. I told her don't be silly... they must be speaking in relative terms. Hamas couldn't really have won. At the time I was right... but by late morning I was soooo wrong.

Lisoosh... see my comment to Yonah.

Doctor Bean... Unfortunately, the world will never allow a decisive victory. So long as the combatants are embedded in a civilian population, there can never be more than a tit for tat game of revenge. The world will never allow another Dresden, Tokyo or London.

Michael Brenner... You are starting off with a hopelessly flawed analogy and I refuse to even read past your first two paragraphs. Ariel Sharon was only tangentially responsible for what happened in Sabra and Shatilla, and he never mentioned anything about a platform based on throwing every last Palestinian into the Jordan. I'm more than willing to discuss this rationally, but not when you begin with such fallacious reasoning.

Ben-David... The one major flaw in your argument is that. like Israel, they have a parliamentary system that (as someone pointed out) makes many fell that a vote for a small party is a wasted vote. I don't know that there were any small parties with the platform you describe, but it would explain why such a party couldn't prevail.

Linoess... What would you know about Europe? :-) Actually, the Palestinians are among the best educated people in the Arab world. But I agree that this doesn't seemed to have made them more popular among their brethren.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jan 27, 2006 1:08:48 AM

David - please note - I don't like Hamas and I think that the odds are that they will be a disaster. I only hope that the Palestinians will realize this and that there will be another election in the near future and that they can change there decision - and yes that would mean that Hamas would not be able to push a radical Islamic agenda quickly enough to do such things as stop women from voting.
When I say wait and see - it is really in terms of rhetoric, I mean what I say about hoping for the best and planning for the worst. I do feel that there is a danger in jumping the gun, bringing about a self fulfilling prophecy of disaster. There is not much Israel can proactively do at the moment that wouldn't aggrivate the situation. Perhaps you have an idea that I don't.

Posted by: Lisoosh | Jan 27, 2006 1:48:27 AM

It's not such a terrible mistake, but you mischaracterized my main point.

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | Jan 27, 2006 2:00:34 AM

Lisoosh:
I do know that several mention combating corruption and a couple of independants do want to negotiate properly with Israel. They are a little handicapped by their size...
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

... and Trepp himself:
Ben-David... The one major flaw in your argument is that. like Israel, they have a parliamentary system that (as someone pointed out) makes many fell that a vote for a small party is a wasted vote. I don't know that there were any small parties with the platform you describe, but it would explain why such a party couldn't prevail.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

... why are these parties so small?

As Trepp himself has pointed out, Hamas had not exactly framed a cogent program of civic administration - other than veiling women's faces.

We are back to wishful thinking that elides the overwhelming lack of support for true coexistence.

Compare the Umm Nidals with the "Mothers for Peace" organizations that sprung up in Northern Ireland.

The "silent majority" that really loves us does not exist.

Does. Not. Exist.

Posted by: Ben-David | Jan 27, 2006 2:04:59 AM

All I've heard ALL DAY over here is how the Pallis voted for Hamas because of the corruption of Fatah.

I got nothin else to say.

Posted by: Scott | Jan 27, 2006 2:42:17 AM

Ben David -
"The "silent majority" that really loves us does not exist."

Who claimed that they love us?
I'm pretty sure that the great majority wish we could just magically disappear, just as most Israelis wish the same - it would just solve so many problems.
It's not about love. Its about pragmatism. Magic aliens aren't going to come and make the other side disappear, either we accept that and move on or we destroy ourselves.

I don't know why these parties are so small. Studies show that Arabs' representatives are far more extreme than those they represent. Maybe it is some cultural show of "strength". It is a pity though.

Posted by: Lisoosh | Jan 27, 2006 4:46:19 AM

This is a sad day for Israel, but worse for America if we continue to cater to this "terrorist-group-just-turned-official."

My family and I are praying for you and your family. G-d will have the last word. Keep your chin up.

Posted by: dina | Jan 27, 2006 5:34:19 AM

*shudder* (that's all I have to say)

Posted by: Ayelet | Jan 27, 2006 6:17:38 AM

Look, don't propagandize to me about how responsible Sharon was for Sabra and Chatilla. (Though, what the heck do you think the idea behind Jordan is Palestine is? hint: it ain't about keeping the Palestinians in the West Bank.) My Zionist credentials are just fine, and I am not your opponent.

It is not really the point of my analogy, which is that the election of a party or leader is not necessarily an endorsement of everything or even most of what they believe in.

Why don't you read the rest of my post and then respond?

Posted by: Michael Brenner | Jan 27, 2006 6:30:14 AM

Michael:

“I disagree with your analysis. This is much more rejection of Fatah than it is an embrace of Hamas. The Palestinians gave Fatah every chance.”

Palestinians were voting for Fatah while 1) Hamas refused to participate in elections 2) While Arafat, the symbol and driving force of terror, was alive. Now it is the turn of Hamas.

“I can see that most pro-Israel people, because, let's face it, it's very beneficial for us to do so, will read the election as an endorsement of everything Hamas does. “

This is a presumptios statement. It is not beneficial for us (only maybe in a masochistic kind of way) because it is not true that Hamas coming to power will have any of the effects you describe later in your comment.

“When the Israelis elected Ariel Sharon in 2001, they were not signalling an acceptance of Sabra and Chatilla and throwing the Arabs into Jordan. “

Neither were they signaling the second coming of Chisus Christ in a flying saucer. Sharon, as David already mentioned, had only marginal connection to the Lebanon events, and was never talking about throwing Arabs into anything.

“They were signalling disaffection with Ehud Barak. “

And you know this because?

“Khalil Shakiki's polls continue to show that most Palestinians want a solution to the conflict”

Yes. It is called the “final” solution.

“ (and thus it is inaccurate to say that they want to destroy Israel),”

inaccurate or false?

“ and that most of them support armed attacks of some kind (and therefore inaccurate to claim that this vote is somehow a new endorsement of violence).”

David (and neither anyone else here) said it is a new endorsement of violence. He said his realization of the endorsement is what's new. But anyhow, you right. The endorsement is not new.

“ Furthermore, most Palestinians are not in favor of an Islamic state (and it is therefore inaccurate that voting for Hamas signals that the Palestinians are Islamic fundamentalists. “

Yes, and if the experiment disagrees with theory it needs to be repeated until the don't reconcile.

“Entering the political process is a big problem for Hamas, their election changes little for Israel, and hello, we don't have deal with PLO bullshit anymore. “

There is no political process. Just today Hamas declared that if Israel stops giving PA money they will start blowing things up. How is that for process? Well, I guess extortion is not really new to politicians.

“Hamas will be forced to change or suffer the consequences.”

There will be no consequences, and there will be no changing. Would you say the same if say... Taliban came to power in, say ... Afganistan? Wait. They did. And we got 9/11.

“ They will now be held accountable for whatever they do.”

Just like Fatah I assume?

“ No more military wing acting outside the political wing. “

Al-aqsa brigades anyone?

“And if they do attack, any hardship suffered by Palestinians as a result of Israeli responses will be blamed on them.”

Just like in the past 50 years. Remember, the rule changed in PA, not EU.

“The Europeans will not be able to pooh-pooh them anymore; when was the last time you heard of European leaders uniting to tell Hamas that they were required to give up violence and recognize Israel?”

Do you really think that tomorow's headline will be “Hamas gave up violence as a consequence of a no pooh-pooh request from Europeans”.

“There will be no more two-faced political maneuvering from Fatah, telling the West and Israel one thing and their people another. “

Now we will witness the beautiful sight of honest politic. They won't lie about wanting to kill us.

“And though I don't believe the Palestinians had any good choices, Europeans leaders are not going to be so willing to criticize Israel's actions in the territories now that Palestinians made fools out of their policy of paying the Palestinians to stay moderate. “

And this is exactly the reason why European politics wont change. Because that would make them look like fools. Instead they will try to make Hamas to look like the new Fatah. Their only problem is, Hamas, the honest organization that they are, don't want to put on the makeup.

“Little changes for Israel, particularly if unilateralism continues.”

Finally, something I can agree with. Though our train of thought is probably different.

“ The point of unilateralism is that what the Palestinians do or don't do doesn't matter. “

Yes. Either way, they win.

“We knew Fatah was doing nothing to stop suicide bombing, and in some cases abetting it. The only difference is that now, the international community can't deny the Palestinian government's complicity should suicide bombings take place.”

They can. Watch them.

“And I might say, optimist that I am, that it is not a bad thing that the Palestinians are willing to kick out a corrupt, ineffective leadership. If they hold Hamas accountable for moving toward some agreement with Israel, as I bet they will,”

I wonder why you bet this. Did Hamas said anything about making peace? Something in arabic maybe, so that the westerners won't understand? Their platform is honest and obviouse. Don't take Palestinians for fools. They perfectly know what they are doing.

“ it will show that they did not put Hamas in power to set up an Islamic state and continue killing people.”

Yep. No words.

Posted by: Yury | Jan 27, 2006 7:12:02 AM

Let me get this straight: the Palestinians just elected Hamas to lead their government? {disbelief} {sadness} Aren't they terrorists? So I go to Google thinking I might have misunderstood something, and I find them on the U.S. list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/fs/37191.htm

On a talk radio show today I heard someone mention that in their charter they are dedicated to eliminating Israel, and I find it is apparently true. http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/mideast/hamas.htm

We don't have news like this and many of us over here have are heads in the sand with regard to foreign affairs. This news is sad and nothing short of astounding. I had the idea that just maybe 1-5% of the palestinians were like this and that most of them wanted to live better, peaceful, and quiet lives together with all of the citizens in Israel. It appears that, whatever the percent, the sentiment of intolerance is much higher than I would have ever expected.

HOW could they do it? How could they vote for an organization so clearly dedicated to violence?

I couldn't say that I could be angry or anything other than respectful and nice, personally, if I would meet any individual Palestinian person on the street. But as a group, they must RENOUNCE these ideas (in speech and writing) and apologize fully for the distasteful events of their past. That is clear. Not being an Israeli (spelling?) I wouldn't want to suggest anything further, but it seems that they must be "stood up to" and not legitimized, as they currently are. Feel free to educate me ...

Posted by: Seattle | Jan 27, 2006 7:53:35 AM

"Palestinians were voting for Fatah while 1) Hamas refused to participate in elections 2) While Arafat, the symbol and driving force of terror, was alive. Now it is the turn of Hamas."

Still, Fatah has been in power a long time with nothing to show for it. It's inevitable that there would be a political price.


"Neither were they signaling the second coming of Chisus Christ in a flying saucer. Sharon, as David already mentioned, had only marginal connection to the Lebanon events, and was never talking about throwing Arabs into anything."

Sharon was found "indirectly responsible" by the Kahan commission, which suggests more than marginal responsibility. And again, this is not the point. The point is how Sharon is perceived outside of Israel by others. Would it have been right for non-Israelis, who identify Sharon with S and C, to assume that his election in 2001 symbolized Israeli agreement with S and C?

"This is a presumptios statement. It is not beneficial for us (only maybe in a masochistic kind of way) because it is not true that Hamas coming to power will have any of the effects you describe later in your comment."

No it isn't. The worse we say things are, the more leeway we can give ourselves to respond.

"“They were signalling disaffection with Ehud Barak. “

And you know this because?"

Because Sharon's image at the time he ran was as a hardline Likudnik out of step with most of the country. Barak was seen as a failure more than Sharon a success.

“Khalil Shakiki's polls continue to show that most Palestinians want a solution to the conflict”

"Yes. It is called the “final” solution."

Yeah, OK. Be a pessimist if you want.

"There is no political process."

It may feel good to say that, but since they just held an election, I'd have a hard time agreeing with you.

"There will be no consequences, and there will be no changing. Would you say the same if say... Taliban came to power in, say ... Afganistan? Wait. They did. And we got 9/11."

Hamas is not the Taliban. Stop with the propaganda. I am not the EU, and I don't need a simplistic media message about the dangers of fundamentalism. If they turn out to be the Taliban, I'll admit you're right, but I'd say they won't last long in government if they try.

"I wonder why you bet this. Did Hamas said anything about making peace? Something in arabic maybe, so that the westerners won't understand? Their platform is honest and obviouse. Don't take Palestinians for fools. They perfectly know what they are doing."

The Palestinians aren't fools, which is why they kicked out, as Abbas said, the organization responsible for getting them on the map. If they were fools, they would have voted for Fatah again. Hamas will have to compromise. Otherwise, the Palestinians will continue to see their land shrink, and they will, as they did here, blame the party in power.

You refuse to believe that anything good came of the Disengagement and thus write off the idea that Israel gained political capital for it. That's your prerogative. I'd just like to know when the last time was that any Western leader outside of the US demanded, as virtually all of the European ministers did today, that Hamas recognize Israel and renounce violence.

I am not one to put much in these pronouncements, but I think it signals a wider understanding of Israel's position.

The next four years or so will prove which one of us is right about Hamas and the Palestinian people. I see the glass half-full at this point in time.


Posted by: Michael Brenner | Jan 27, 2006 7:54:55 AM

Hoping you are right Michael, that the glass is half-full. Watching things unfold with interest ...

Posted by: Seattle | Jan 27, 2006 8:33:05 AM

... admitting that for myself, the glass is not half full. I want to believe that, but they chose Hamas, and they know what Hamas stands for.

Posted by: Seattle | Jan 27, 2006 8:42:13 AM

Lisoosh wrote:
It's not about love. Its about pragmatism.
- - - - - - - - - - - -

... but from the very start of Oslo, peaceniks have repeatedly used the completely unpragmatic - and patronizing - tactic of pretending they know what the Palis want and mean better than the Palis themselves.

So the peace process has been fueled by a central myth that the vast majority of Palis will accommodate themselves to Israel's presence if they are only given peace, dignity, and economic prospects (isn't that right, Mr. Peres...).

This myth has been created by consistently editing and reinterpreting rather bald statements by the Palis - statements that have been backed up by bloody action for almost 2 decades now.

The rush to ignore the issue that Hamas put front and center in its platform - and underscored with terrorist activity in the run-up to the election - is a classic example of this recasting of Pali intent to fit the daydream of peace.

Again: there is enough media attention and foreign interest for someone like Ashrawi or the old-line Jerusalem Arab leadership to get a lot of traction for a party that embraces both democratic reform AND coexistence. It would certainly appeal to the local, grass roots Pali leadership which was largely unseated by the PLO's Tunisian henchmen.

It hasn't happened.

There is nothing more "pragmatic" than taking people at their word. This now must be done vis-a-vis the Palestinians.

Posted by: Ben-David | Jan 27, 2006 9:18:31 AM

Michael:

“Still, Fatah has been in power a long time with nothing to show for it. It's inevitable that there would be a political price.”

Sure. But Palestinians didn't vote for some 3rd party. They voted Hamas.

“Sharon was found "indirectly responsible" by the Kahan commission, which suggests more than marginal responsibility.”

In Israel you can set up a commission to prove anything you want.

“ And again, this is not the point. The point is how Sharon is perceived outside of Israel by others.”

*You* were talking about perception of Sharon by israeli voters.

“No it isn't. The worse we say things are, the more leeway we can give ourselves to respond.”

While I am not saying there are no people like that, I hope this is not something you are accusing of me or the author of the original post. Although my hope is very fragile at this point.

“Because Sharon's image at the time he ran was as a hardline Likudnik out of step with most of the country.”

Typical thinking of someone who likes to think that the majority is on his side, because the moral authority is always associated with the majority, and boy, is it nice to feel morally superior. Either that, or you are misinformed. If Barak was the problem, then why didn't they voted for Shinuy (they did, but apparently not all of them) or Meretz, or Ale Yarok or some other left party. Why did the alleged left majority had to jump ship, and vote for someone who was, according to yourself, associated with the hard line of the right!?
“"Yes. It is called the “final” solution."
Yeah, OK. Be a pessimist if you want. “

Nice try. Dismiss it on the grounds it is just my emotions, not a well thought-out opinion.

"There is no political process."
It may feel good to say that, but since they just held an election, I'd have a hard time agreeing with you.”

Are you accusing me of something as primitive as saying things because they feel good? Ok, I will swallow the insult and reply: I am talking about what happens next, now that Hamas won the elections, not the elections themselves. The elections where conducted with Fatah still in power.

“"There will be no consequences, and there will be no changing. Would you say the same if say... Taliban came to power in, say ... Afganistan? Wait. They did. And we got 9/11."

Hamas is not the Taliban. Stop with the propaganda. I am not the EU, and I don't need a simplistic media message about the dangers of fundamentalism. If they turn out to be the Taliban, I'll admit you're right, but I'd say they won't last long in government if they try.”

Hamas is not Taliban?! Propaganda?! Vast right wing conspiracy? Ok, I admit. They have different names. What other proof do I need to see to believe that killing infidels in Afganistan and literally selling the country to Al-Kaida has nothing to do with killing infidels in Israel and making public statements about it's imminent destruction.

“The Palestinians aren't fools, which is why they kicked out, as Abbas said, the organization responsible for getting them on the map. If they were fools, they would have voted for Fatah again. Hamas will have to compromise. Otherwise, the Palestinians will continue to see their land shrink, and they will, as they did here, blame the party in power. “

Wow. This one is so bad it is not even wrong. No comment.

“You refuse to believe that anything good came of the Disengagement and thus write off the idea that Israel gained political capital for it.”

Please list the good things that came out of disengagement. And explain where that capital is exactly. In which bank it is kept, and who is in charge of spending it. Because honestly, I didn't see any of it in circulation.

“I'd just like to know when the last time was that any Western leader outside of the US demanded, as virtually all of the European ministers did today, that Hamas recognize Israel and renounce violence. “

They demanded to stop the violence. WHO CARES?! Don't you know that public statements, appearances, formal visits etc have nothing, absolutely nothing to do with real politics? When was the last time anything they (or anyone else) demanded from Palestinians had any effect? Am I supposed to feel good that EU is now “loving” us, the jews? Am I supposed to feel accepted, the “in” crowd, now that the popular kid on the block is loving me again? Puh-lease!

“I am not one to put much in these pronouncements, but I think it signals a wider understanding of Israel's position. “

It signals they had no other choice but to release this statement. They also asked (begged?) that the old government does not resigns. Why? Because they want to keep mailing money, and talking about talks, and they are afraid to get the hands dirty. They need a facade, to keep sending money. This time – to Hamas!

“The next four years or so will prove which one of us is right about Hamas and the Palestinian people.”

No, they wont. I think Disengagement already had so many terrible results, that there is nothing to even argue about. It's facts now, not predictions. Yet, you don't see or don't know them. I seriously doubt you will change your opinion in the future, even if Hamas bombs New York. Well, maybe then. It's not Kfar-darom, after all.

“ I see the glass half-full at this point in time.”

I just wonder what it's in it.

Posted by: Yury | Jan 27, 2006 9:21:06 AM

*sigh* Ignonimity: when ignominy breeds w anonimity. GAH.

David, I very much believe that (despite my not so hopeful 2nd hand experience w them myself I read and talk to other people, so I know it is true) but the question is, WHAT Palestinians? The ones that celebrate madly on the streets whenever Jews die? That's why I wrote "as a whole", it isn't true for the majority. I cannot accept the lesser evil argument and fatah's lack of credibility. When we have elections and no candidate has convinced me I leave it blank. Blank votes also carry a message and you still do your duty and exercise your right to vote. They actually say I very much want to participate in my country's choices but you are making it impossible for me to actually choose. Granted, blank votes in a state that isn't quite that yet, or democratic yet, may be a problem. Hamas may be more honest - actually, exceedingly so - but really - Hamas?? How peace-inducing.

Posted by: Lioness | Jan 27, 2006 11:19:08 AM

I need to stop commenting till exams are over. What I've neglected to add was: and yet the elections WERE democratic, and observers were there, so yes, blank votes. No, no blank votes. Bad.

Will spare you more of my articulate self.

Posted by: Lioness | Jan 27, 2006 11:22:25 AM

Yonah -- I never said Hamas didn't want to kill Jews. I just said, so do the other guys. It's not that Hamas wants to kill Jews any more or less than the other guys. What? Fatah and Abbas don't want to kill Jews? They all do. So what are the internal politics? I agree with what Daniel Pipes said.

Posted by: amechad | Jan 27, 2006 12:25:44 PM

Yes, David, you are correct, and Lisoosh reacted too fast. I was not comparing Hamas and the Nazis at all, I was comparing their voters and the reasons why the voters chose them. At the time the Nazi party was talking about change, ridding corruption, improving social welfare after WWI had stripped the Germans of their dignity. A "by-product" of their rhetoric was solving the Jewish problem amidst an Aryan superiority, but I agree that plenty of folks, perhaps even most, were not voting only for that last point. That being said, the vast majority were ok with it, went along with it, publicly supported it, and I believe the same is true now.

Amechad, I cannot comment on Pipes, I am not familiar with the greater body of his writings. I do agree that the leadership of both parties pray every day that the Jews are destroyed, and would only discuss peace as a means to an end that includes that decimation as the finality. Sadly, I am quite sure that at some point soon the pathetic Peres quote of "you make peace with enemies, not with friends" will resurface and soon we will be seeing photo-ops of the mid-level ministers from the Knesset and Hamas at a table - of this I have no doubt. We are in a downward spiral of appeasement for now, hopefully leaders with courage and strength and clarity of vision will find their way into the hearts and minds of the Jewish Israeli citizenry and bring back some pride and sensibility to our tactics with those who want us all dead.

Posted by: yonah | Jan 27, 2006 2:31:42 PM

I am shocked by the number of commenters here that are (or pretend to be) shocked by Hamas victory. Whether it is a real shock or a pretext for saying "I told you it will happen if...", it is not for me to say.

However, David, your three beliefs are against much we have been taught about the Palestinian society. It was know that the popular support for armed conflict is very high, it was known that fundamentalist Islam is gaining support - as it happens all over Middle East and, finally, it was known that the support for the "martyrs" is very strong. So why be surprised now?

I do not share the feeling of something drastic happening in PA. In a certain sense, I even feel some relief (albeit temporary). Instead of double-tongues heirs of Arafat we have now a clear and present danger that does not (yet) know to talk to foreign diplomats and the media in a politically correct voice.

So, as a matter of fact, Arik's dream is coming true. For a while, at least, we can do not what some good-hearted Euros expect us to do, but what we really have to do. Namely: remove more distant and hard/expensive to protect settlements, finish the fence, establish the de-facto borders and wait.

I am sure that time will do its erosive work. The Euros first, the Americans second will find Hamas more and more palatable, especially after Hamas gets control of the diplomatic double-speak. The world will force us into negotiations, after Hamas makes some appropriate noises.

But so what? The famous saying "You make piece with your enemies" stays true, no matter what your political credo is. When the time comes, we'll have to look and see.

As a side remark: why do you call people who thinks that Hamas gained a lot of support because of its social work apologists is above my poor head. After all, this is one of the chief reasons for Hamas popularity. It was very clever of them to use the vacuum created by Fatah impotence. And saying it is so does not have nothing to do with a person's political views, I think.

Git Shabes.

Posted by: SnoopyTheGoon | Jan 27, 2006 2:56:15 PM

Snoopy - I just want to make it clear that my comments do not relate to my views on the Disengament. At the same time, one of my biggest problems with it was NOT the idea of Jews out of Gaza (it was going to happen one way or another, unilaterally or after negotiation) but rather that there was no room for legitimate criticism and people didn't take "Hamasistan" or rockets falling in Ashkelon seriously. Having said that, it may have been that the benefits still outweighed the risks. Or not. Not the point here.


Yonah writes, "Sadly, I am quite sure that at some point soon the pathetic Peres quote of "you make peace with enemies, not with friends" will resurface " (/end quote)

Clearly Yonah hasn't studied international negotiation or political science. Peres is right (did I just say that? Yes I did.), you don't negotiate with your friends. You negotiate with your enemies. Of course, proper international negotiations has checks and balances and a good agreement should ensure that both sides live up to their agreements and that their is some level of proportionality to that - hence Peres also didn't study international negotiation.

Yonah continues, "and soon we will be seeing photo-ops of the mid-level ministers from the Knesset and Hamas at a table - of this I have no doubt. " (/end quote)

Guess what, surprise surprise. Israel, prior to the elections, has always had contacts with Hamas. Heck, Israel CREATED Hamas during the first intifada to try to serve as a counterweight to the Palestinian leadership from abroad (the PLO) that had taken control.
Israel has held low-level contacts with Hamas for quite some time. Secret of secrets, Israel has also had contacts and maintains contacts with plenty of states in which there are no formal relations with Israel. Israel has economic ties to the Arab world and even engages in trade through 3rd parties. To any trained political scientist this isn't a secret.

Posted by: amechad | Jan 27, 2006 3:43:40 PM

Snoopy - I just want to make it clear that my comments do not relate to my views on the Disengament. At the same time, one of my biggest problems with it was NOT the idea of Jews out of Gaza (it was going to happen one way or another, unilaterally or after negotiation) but rather that there was no room for legitimate criticism and people didn't take "Hamasistan" or rockets falling in Ashkelon seriously. Having said that, it may have been that the benefits still outweighed the risks. Or not. Not the point here.


Yonah writes, "Sadly, I am quite sure that at some point soon the pathetic Peres quote of "you make peace with enemies, not with friends" will resurface " (/end quote)

Clearly Yonah hasn't studied international negotiation or political science. Peres is right (did I just say that? Yes I did.), you don't negotiate with your friends. You negotiate with your enemies. Of course, proper international negotiations has checks and balances and a good agreement should ensure that both sides live up to their agreements and that their is some level of proportionality to that - hence Peres also didn't study international negotiation.

Yonah continues, "and soon we will be seeing photo-ops of the mid-level ministers from the Knesset and Hamas at a table - of this I have no doubt. " (/end quote)

Guess what, surprise surprise. Israel, prior to the elections, has always had contacts with Hamas. Heck, Israel CREATED Hamas during the first intifada to try to serve as a counterweight to the Palestinian leadership from abroad (the PLO) that had taken control.
Israel has held low-level contacts with Hamas for quite some time. Secret of secrets, Israel has also had contacts and maintains contacts with plenty of states in which there are no formal relations with Israel. Israel has economic ties to the Arab world and even engages in trade through 3rd parties. To any trained political scientist this isn't a secret. That's the way the international system works and if there is going to be a Jewish state, an actual political entity, this is the price that has to be paid - functioning by the normals of the international political system and the scientific rules of social science/political science.

Posted by: amechad | Jan 27, 2006 3:45:08 PM

Amechad, that is right - I did not study international negotiation or political science, certainly not behind the walls of academia. I'm sure we'd benefit from hearing about your degrees in these areas of study to support your analyses. So humbly, and without documented proof of my expertise, I'd like to address your two comments:

1) In theory one negotiates with enemies, under certain conditions, and up to a certain point. Peres's quote has been taken to the extreme, leaving no room for serious armed conflict should a breaking point be reached. If one completely removes any vestige of acceptance that conflict is a possibility, remote as we wish, then that is where the line in the sand is drawn between us, and that is why I believe the quote is hurtful. There are certain enemies that at some point are beyond dialogue. And since we both know that the two sides are talking anyway, publicly captured or not, I'd be curious to know at what point you would agree that it is time to stop talking and start acting like there's a war going on.

2) I never said Israeli's and Hamas did not meet - please read what I wrote. I said there'd be photo-ops at the bargaining table - in other words, public displays of mutual acceptance. This will happen even before Hamas renounces their destructive charter - that is the shame.

Posted by: yonah | Jan 27, 2006 4:09:46 PM

Even if Hamas begins to moderate and hold talks w the Israelis, they will use the Islamic Jihad or others to put pressure on Israel (iow murder inocents). The "political" party in power will always be seen as the messiah of controling the militants by the head-in-sand optimists, even as they sponsor the terror behind the scenes. What Hamas was to Fatah, Islamic Jihad will be to Hamas.

Posted by: mendelbomb | Jan 27, 2006 4:30:25 PM

I am not reacting to the comments already made - I haven't had time to read them.

I just wanted to point out one thing: we have no idea what the Arabs really think, because there is no freedom of speech in their world. We can read this election for what it is: a choice between one group calling for the destruction of Israel and is fully corrupt, and another group which calls for the destruction of Israel and at least pays lip service to the need to service the poor.

If you were in this position, who would you vote for?

I, for one, never bought into the idea that Fatah was moderate. The only difference was the the prevalence of secular or non-observant Muslims. The hatred of Israel and the acceptance of terrorism was always there.

If the election had been between a group that was not corrupt and wanted to destroy Israel and another that was not corrupt and accepted Israel's existence, then you could make your conclusions.

G-d willing, some day, we will get to this point.

Posted by: westbankmama | Jan 27, 2006 4:37:37 PM

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