Democratic thinking

Articles on democracy in the independent online media

January 29, 2006

Isreali Insider on Hamas victory

Following their resounding election victory, the Islamic militants of Hamas met the question of whether they will change their stripes with a loud "no:" no recognition of Israel, no negotiations, no renunciation of terror.

But the world still holds out hope that Israeli and international pressure can make them change. At stake is the future of Mideast peacemaking, billions of dollars in aid, and the Palestinians' relationship with Israel and the rest of the world.

Hamas' victory - winning 76 of 132 parliament seats in Wednesday's election - has created a dizzying power shift in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, overturning certitudes and highlighting the failure by Palestinian leaders, Israel and the world to ease growing desperation in the Palestinian territories.

Weekend violence between Hamas and Palestinian policemen, and angry demonstrations by disgruntled gunmen fearing the loss of jobs and income after the Hamas win, has raised the specter of widespread civil strife in the territories.

After a brutal five-year campaign by Israel to destroy Hamas and assassinate its top leaders, the organization emerged stronger than ever, poised now to take over the Palestinian Authority.

The U.S. has pushed for democracy in the Middle East, hoping to promote moderation and head off more 9/11-style attacks, but, as in recent votes in Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon, a clean and fair election has empowered Islamic extremists in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Israel and the international community have repeatedly demanded that the Palestinian government disarm militias, but now that the main militia appears to have become the government, no one knows what will happen to its weapons.

Hamas' win caught everyone, including the organization itself, off guard.

Now both Hamas and the international community face agonizing dilemmas. Hamas leaders say they won't renounce their violent ideology, but the consequences of failing to do so are likely to be catastrophic: loss of life-sustaining aid, international isolation and a profound setback to their statehood aspirations.

The United States and many European countries say they'll have nothing to do with a Hamas government, but a sharp cutoff in aid and an overly zealous stance could steer the Palestinians further away from moderation at an extremely delicate moment.

An interview with an up-and-coming young Hamas leader in a dusty Gaza Strip field reveals how the organization's slant could shift.

Mushir al-Masri said renouncing the "armed struggle" and negotiating with Israel are "not on Hamas' agenda" because a decade of talking won the Palestinians nothing.

"We cannot waste 10 more years when the last 10 years failed to realize even the minimum amount of Palestinian hopes," he said.

But when an aide tried to put a green Hamas sash over al-Masri's shoulder before a TV interview, the 29-year-old newly elected lawmaker shooed him away. "You should bring me the Palestinian flag," he said, reflecting his movement's stated desire to represent all Palestinians.

By all accounts, Palestinians didn't choose Hamas because they reject peace talks with Israel but rather because they were fed up with graft in the ruling Fatah Party. Hamas candidates ran on a platform of clean government, largely de-emphasizing their militant credentials.

Samih al-Hattab, a 32-year-old policeman in Gaza City, said he voted for Hamas because "everyone wants change," but said he expected the group to soften its stances once in power.

"A politician has to be seasoned and to adapt to the situation he's under," he said, standing outside a mosque where a cleric had just finished a sermon urging Hamas not to follow the corrupt ways of Fatah.

Hamas leaders are aware of their dilemma. Since the election, they have struggled to persuade Fatah to join them in a coalition - hoping to avoid having to deal with Israel and the West. But Fatah has so far rejected the offer.

Hamas victory celebrations have been decidedly muted, another indication the group seeks to handle the situation delicately.

Despite that, tensions are boiling on the streets. Clashes in Gaza between Hamas gunmen and Palestinian police on Friday and Saturday wounded four officers and one Hamas militant.

And on Saturday, thousands of angry Fatah activists, led by masked gunmen firing wildly in the air, marched through the streets of several West Bank cities demanding the resignation of party leaders following Fatah's defeat.

The growing unrest, combined with the complexities of running a government and world pressure for it to change its ways, pose daunting challenges to Hamas, which has little experience in governance.

More details.


At 7:07 PM, Blogger July Canute said...

Could you please tell me where your information is regarding what Palestinian insiders say?

There once was a land called Palestine. White European Jews seized part of this land and drove millions of people off of it and then began to oppress, murder, round up and otherwise violate every human right these people are supposed to have, while they indoctrinate and propagandize the rest of us that we must remember the Nazi holocaust so it never happens again.

How many innocent people have died because of Israel since its founding? Please explain why you think this is ok.

What do you call a Jewish soldier who shoots down a little girl so that her guts fall out?

Could you please tell me why Palestinians on Palestinian land must recognize the state of Israel but we must "give" the Palestinians a homeland and work out a peace agreement with THEM? Please explain.

I am an American citizen and my family has been in this land since the 1700s and I don't have dual loyalities. Could you please explain why the United States government sides with the white European Jews even though many of its citizens are against this and are also against giving Jews 10 to 15 million dollars per day?

If you consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization could you please explain to me what you call the white Jews in Israel?

And while your at it you might explain what you call the Zionist Jewish neo-cons who are responsible for rounding up Arab people and locking them away at Gitmo without due process and torturing them. Also what do you call people who plan a holocaust against Iraqis and then get into government and carry out their plans and drop 500 pound bombs on people who couldn't even put a plane in the air in their own defense while millions of Americans marched against their evil plans.

What will you be saying when Israel nukes Iran?

How many pacs do Palestinians have in the United States? How many pacs do Jews have?

Please explain why white European Jews have a right to Palestinian land.

At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Democratic thinking said...

Hi July,

thanks for posting. The reason for this post or in fact this blog is not to always endorse opinion from independent news sources, whatever policy or ideas they support. By exposing opinions that we do not necessarily agree with, we let free-thinking people like yourself make up their own minds.

I hope that you can detect from my previous posts that I am in favour of democracy and freedom and not oppression and terrorism.

Don't know if you agree, but sometimes its good to listen to and expose arguments from across the political spectrum not only to get a better feel of what is said out there but also to be able to understand the viewpoint of people who choose to stay away from truth.

Please keep reading and posting!

At 5:29 PM, Blogger dawoud_almajid said...

"And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, That Moses commanded the Levites(Jews), which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee. For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death? Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them. For I know that after my death ye will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands. (Deuteronomy 31:25-29)


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