In a shocking Palestinian election on Thursday, the Palestinian people have elected Hamas to govern their state. This revelation has shocked the world, the Fatah has conceded victory and the media has frightened the world into thinking that peace is now impossible.
Hamas is world renknown for their view of Palestine as a state without non-Muslims, and their military operations against Israel civilians have caused worldwide condemnation from many human rights groups.
Hamas is very popular with the Palestinian people because of its welfare to the Palestinian people via social programs, charities and educational and religious institutes. In the 1970’s, well before the military wing of Hamas was born, it’s reported by the United Press International that the Israeli government directly and indirectly aided Hamas as an attempt to balance power between the Fatah.
The rise of Hamas should come as no surprise. With the death of Yasser Arafat and the failure of the Fatah to achieve peace or to relieve impoverished Palestinians, it’s only natural that the Palestinian people were looking for a change. Although Hamas boycotted the elections in 2005, they participated in the 2005 municipal elections which gave them control of one third of the municipal councils in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Now that Hamas have government authority, they have a difficult task of earning respect from the rest of the world. The world is skeptical of Hamas as a result of their track record. If the Hamas can cleanup their act and prove to the world they can combat suicide bombings, peace negotiations can continue. My prediction is that peace negotiations will be delayed by a year as a result of this election, but I think after a year the Hamas will be ready to work together with the rest of the world to achieve peace. If they maintain their current attitude of the destruction of Israel I believe there will be another cycle of war and Israel will take back settlements in the Gaza and the Hamas leadership will likely be killed in the process.
I think it’s in Hamas best interests to prove themselves to the world.
Quick update. After brunch today, I saw Jack Layton riding his bicycle down Queen street. Some kid said to him “Hey, are you the mayor?” and Jack replied, “No I’m not… close though”