Thursday, January 26, 2006
World leaders, uneasy at the prospect of a Hamas-led Palestinian government, immediately exerted pressure on the Islamic militants Thursday to recognize Israel and renounce violence as a precondition for ties.
France noted that the European Union lists Hamas as a terrorist organization, as does the United States. Italy said the militant group's resounding — and surprising — victory in legislative elections Wednesday could indefinitely postpone any chance of Israeli-Palestinian peace and make the creation of a Palestinian state more difficult.
"It is a very, very, very bad result," Italian news agencies quoted Premier Silvio Berlusconi as saying.
Concern crossed political divides, with traditional supporters of the Palestinian cause — such as Italy's center-left opposition — among those expressing concern.
They act as though this represents some radical change in direction for the Palestinians. Maybe now Europe will stop financing suicide bombers, but I am skeptical.
Echoing Cardinalpark's comment, Emanuele Ottolenghi has a column in National Review Online that makes the case that the Hamas election is in fact a positive thing.
What victory does to Hamas is to put the movement into an impossible position. As preliminary reports emerge, Hamas has already asked Fatah to form a coalition and got a negative response. Prime Minister Abu Ala has resigned with his cabinet, and president Abu Mazen will now appoint Hamas to form the next government. From the shadows of ambiguity, where Hamas could afford — thanks to the moral and intellectual hypocrisy of those in the Western world who dismissed its incendiary rhetoric as tactics — to have the cake and eat it too. Now, no more. Had they won 30-35 percent of the seats, they could have stayed out of power but put enormous limits on the Palestinian Authority’s room to maneuver. By winning, they have to govern, which means they have to tell the world, very soon, a number of things.
They will have to show their true face now: No more masks, no more veils, no more double-speak. If the cooptation theory — favored by the International Crisis Group and by the former British MI-6 turned talking head, Alistair Crooke — were true, this is the time for Hamas to show what hides behind its veil.
As the government of the Palestinian Authority, now they will have to say whether they accept the roadmap.
They will have to take control over security and decide whether they use it to uphold the roadmap or to wage war.
There will be no excuses or ambiguities when Hamas fires rockets on Israel and launches suicide attacks against civilian targets.
One thing seems sure: between this election and the incapacitation of Sharon, things are changing fast in this conflict. Watch for many long held assumptions to be challenged, and with them, the medias portrayal of this conflict.
I don't know if I'd say positive, but it's REAL. Palestine wants its own state. That means if its maurauders cross the border and bomb something, it's called war, not an incident. So it allows Israle far more operational freedom to respond to an assault. There's a reason why Sharon did the things he did. It allowed Israel to compartmentalize the terrorism problem and tunr it into a matter between states. That means you exercise diplomacy or war. It's no longer the language of rebellion that Hamas can use. Maybe more importantly, it's not that language that Europe and the UN can embrace.
When I saw the former IDF chief of statf speak, he sad the advantage to the new Iranian head of stae was that the blunt honesty of his position made it easier for Israel to respond, and harder for Europeans to embrace an antiIsrael position. The same will now be true of Hamas. The lines are drawn.
The Wall looks prety prescient now.
Also, like the IRA's Sinn Fein party in Northern Ireland, it draws terrorist organizations into a system where they are held accountable by the electorate. In Northern Ireland this has, along with unrelenting pressure from the Brits, moved Sinn Fein out of the terror game and into the political game.
The Hamas victory is going to challenge the Palestinian spin doctors and the European/UN apologists. I believe they will come up with some kind of rationalization for their continuing support of Palestinians because of their hatred of the Jews.