Friday, January 27, 2006


From Israel: Arlene Kushner, January 26, 2006

From Israel

Arlene Kushner

January 26, 2006

There is no one reading this posting who does not already know that Hamas has won the PA Legislative Council elections, garnering 75 seats, with Fatah taking 43.

-- Ismail Haniyeh, a Hamas leader, has declared that Hamas will "complete the liberation of other parts of Palestine."

-- Dore Gold, in analyzing the situation, has reminded people that Hamas is the local branch of the very dangerous and militant Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt.

-- There were violent clashes between members of Fatah and Hamas after results were announced.

-- The members of the PA government have submitted their resignations, although Abbas is asking them to stay on until a new government is formed.

-- PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie (aka Abu Ala) has resigned.

-- PA President Mahmoud Abbas is "thinking" of resigning but is being urged to stay. Among those urging him is President Bush (about which more below).

-- Hamas is seeking a unity government with Fatah, but Fatah seems to be exhibiting a distinct lack of enthusiasm for this, knowing that they would be powerless within the government.

Hamas actually needs them. They've never done governmental administration before. They need some experienced people in key positions.

-- The Quarter (the US, the UN, the EU and Russia) will be meeting to discuss this new situation and how to handle it.

It will be some time before the air clears and we see how this will play out.

At least in theory this should remove doubt about the intentions of the Palestinian people with regard to true peace with Israel. But it's possible to put spin on what has happened:

Already President Bush is saying that Hamas won because of dissatisfaction with the Fatah corruption (and there is some truth to this, but it is not the whole truth). In urging Abbas not to resign, he called on him to continue to lead the way in negotiations with Israel.

And Condoleezza Rice made this statement: "The Palestinian people have apparently voted for change, but we believe that their aspirations for peace and a peaceful life remain unchanged..."

Talk about twisting reality to fit what you want to believe!

It goes on and on...

There's this report: "Shimon Peres and Jordan’s King Abdullah II met in Jordan on Thursday to discuss the results of the Palestinian Legislative Council elections and how they might impact future peace-making efforts. Abdullah expressed his hope that Israel and the Palestinian Authority would renew peace talks." WHAT is this man talking about?

But he's not alone: "Meretz-Yahad (far left) chairman Yossi Beilin said that the election results still provided a chance for an agreement with moderate Palestinians. He called on Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to launch peace talks with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Beilin also warned that if Israel and the PA failed to reach an agreement soon, Hamas would win in the next elections, as well." Ever hear of a better reason for launching peace talks?

But there are many people who are seeing things clearly:

National Religious Party MK Zevulen Orlev said that the Hamas victory was the result of Israel's "disengagement" from the Gaza Strip. "The Palestinian public recognized that Hamas's suicide bombers and Kassam rockets convinced the... disengagement government to uproot Jews from Gush Katif." And you know what? He's got it absolutely right. It was with the pullout from Gaza that Hamas gained strength.

In fairness to Bush and Rice, along with their pie-in-the-sky statements also came declarations that the US position on Hamas has not changed and that there was no negotiating with a terrorist entity.

From officials in Europe, as well, have come statements regarding the fact that there is no dealing with Hamas until it recognizes Israel and renounces terrorism.

The hope then, in all quarters, is that Hamas will moderate. I see this as the greatest danger. Because the moderation would be a facade, and yet would give the them an opportunity to be accepted by the world. I remind everyone that this is what Fatah -- whose constitution still calls for Israel's destruction! -- has been doing all along.

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