Saturday, January 28, 2006

Hamas electoral victory -- Snips from here and there

The Hamas Victory: Another failure of intelligence
Dr. Hadar's Global Paradigms's not a secret that some of the top PLO guys receive stipends from the CIA, not to mention the fact that some of the "research institutes" and polling companies are receiving funding from the U.S. and the E.U. Any Arab-American working for our intelligence services could settle in the West Bank and Gaza where the population is multilingual and where everyone talks. Did I mention that we are talking here about an area that is about the side of Montgomery Country, Maryland, where I live. So.. what was exactly is the problem? Why couldn't we figure out the electoral trends among the Palestinians? And what about the legendary Mossad? Sorry, guys, but if we couldn't get this right, why do we even need an "intelligence service?" Well, maybe it's my own low intelligence, like the other intelligence, that can't figure that out.

Publius Pundit publishes this quote:
...President of the Family Research Council and former Presidential candidate, Gary Bauer, who says the Hamas win should be a wake-up call both in Israel and Washington D.C. “Faced with a choice, the Palestinian voters picked the most ardent and committed Jew-killers and America-haters. Now well-meaning and decent men in Israel, the United States and Europe must start answering questions too long ignored. Why should the free world push for a Palestinian state when it has been made clear, yet again, that it will be a terrorist state? Why should the U.S. and Europe continue to send millions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies to such a corrupt regime? On what basis can anyone in Israel or the U.S. still argue that the answer to Hamas’ success is to give away more precious land and force more Jews out of their homes, while putting Israel at greater and greater risk?”
His comment: Anyone who understands what’s really happening in the Middle East knows a Hamas win is BAD for Israel, and dare I say, what’s bad for Israel is also bad for America.
*** the real lives of real Palestinians, chafing under their 39th year of life under foreign military occupation, there will be the huge challenge of trying to assure a peaceful transition of authority from the old Fateh-dominated PA to the newly elected Hamas adminsitration. Ensuring the peacefulness of a political transition from one party to another is a task at the core of democratization... A task that is perhaps even more important than being able to hold a "free and fair" election.
I'm remembering the role Jimmy Carter played, in Nicaragua, in 1990, when Daniel Ortega's ruling Sandinista Party suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of Violeta Chamorro's party. Carter played a good role then, stressing the essential democratic principle of ensuring an orderly and calm political trasntion from one party to another...
And he's playing the same role in Palestine today. At a time when pundits in what's called the "western donor community" are voicing all kinds of scary warnings (or perhaps, veiled threats?) to the Palestinians, that the US and EU donor governments "are constrained by law" from directing funding to the PA if it led by a pro-Hamas government, Carter is telling us that isn't so, and we should all remain calm.
She refers to the NY Times story about Carter.
"It may well be that Hamas can change," Mr. Carter said, remembering his presidency, when the Palestine Liberation Organization under Yasir Arafat finally agreed to recognize the existence of Israel and to forswear terrorism. "It's a mistake to abandon optimism completely."
He urged Israel and the world: "Don't drive the Palestinians away from rationality. Don't force them into assuming arms as the only way to achieve their legitimate goals. Give them some encouragement and the benefit of the doubt."
Kobayashi Maru posts a moving memory of a peacemaker who touched the lives of many, including Koby, his late brother and his late brother's widow, and now the many visitors with whom the story is being shared.
Blessed are the peacemakers.
Jonathan Edelstein's take on what is happening provides perhaps the most reasonable, wide-ranging and intelligent discussion I have found. Together with regular commenters at his blog, you will find every angle covered. I have not had time to read it all, but I provide the link here for anyone who wants to have a look.
There are a number of updates toward the end of the post. And the bloghost also is an active participant in the comment thread. I have great respect for anyone who says "like many other analysts and pollsters, I had to start the morning by washing the egg off my face." That kind of candor and humility is virtually non-existent in today's world. He's also smart.
As of his most recent post, Edelstein remains opptimistic that the dust will settle and the world will come to terms with what has happened.
...The world, including Israel, can't just treat the PA as a black hole. Force works two ways, and the world will be forced, as a realistic matter, to deal with the people in charge.
My top two candidates for being first to establish a reciprocal relationship are the EU and Egypt. And I wouldn't underestimate Egypt's power vis-a-vis Hamas: the latter will need that Rafah border, big time, if it wants to wean the Palestinian economy away from Israel. Eventually - most likely after the Israeli elections - the United States and Israel will also have to develop some kind of de facto system of communication, which may again involve Egypt as back channel.
Keep in mind, also, that Hamas will face a squeeze from within as well as without, and it will ironically be the same kind of squeeze that Abbas faced - the presence of armed factions that don't recognize its authority. If it's serious about establishing law and order, it will need quite a bit of outside support - more, I'd guess, than Iran or Hizbullah would be able to provide.

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