Friday, January 27, 2006

Living With Hamas's Victory

Here the usually collected and sensible Hoagland reveals less of an approach than a glimpse of his intellectual framework, his assumptions and, alas, his ignorance as well. Hamas among other aspects, is a critique of Oslo and its beneficiaries that did not include many Palestinians, and privileged Israeli security at the expense of Palestinian existence. Hamas will not be able to rule if it rejects any settlement with Israel. A majority of Palestinians support a two-state solution, but on terms that do not embrace Ariel Sharon's vision. Expect a far more nuanced Hamas than you glimpse in Hoagland's spiteful piece.

Living With Hamas's Victory: "In their pain, the Palestinians have lashed out against Fatah and entrusted their fate to a movement that exists in large part to inflict pain on their Israeli and American enemies. The psychic rewards of revenge, which are much esteemed in the Arab world, outweigh, right now, material and other rewards that were supposed to flow to Palestinians from peace accords or Israeli unilateral disengagement.
Washington and other capitals will be tempted to focus exclusively on the international dimensions of this lashing out. It brings setbacks not only for the 'road map' outline for Israeli and Palestinian states living in peace but also for international efforts to contain Iran. Having Hamas form or control a Palestinian regime gives the extremist forces of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad another card to play.
Even after Hamas's victory became clear, Bush urged President Abbas to 'stay in office and work to move the process forward.' The president seemed to be proposing that Abbas seek a political blessing from Hamas and a power-of-attorney to continue talks that the radicals denounce as worthless.
That is precisely the wrong direction to take. The Bush administration and other governments should do nothing to obscure for the Palestinians the consequences of their actions at the ballot boxes on Wednesday. It would not be effective diplomacy or politics to cushion the Palestinians from those consequences."

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