Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Face of Hamas Rule May Not Include Its Own

Los Angeles Times: The Face of Hamas Rule May Not Include Its Own: "The militant group Hamas, facing the threat of diplomatic isolation and a precipitous drop in foreign aid when it assumes power, is exploring the possibility of taking a less visible role in the new Palestinian government than might be expected after its sweeping parliamentary election victory.

Though the shape of the new government is not yet clear, options being weighed by the Islamist organization include appointing a nonmember as prime minister and creating a Cabinet made up mostly of people from outside parliament rather than from the ranks of the group's newly elected lawmakers.

Israel, the United States and many Western countries have made it clear they will have no dealings with a Hamas government unless the group renounces its aim of Israel's destruction and disarms its military wing.

However, quirks in the Palestinian parliamentary system, together with all sides' desire to advance their own pragmatic interests, could combine to offer a face-saving path forward, according to an array of analysts, Western diplomats and Israeli and Palestinian officials.

The coming weeks, in their view, could yield a nuanced new Israeli-Palestinian reality under which all parties can claim they are holding fast to their principles while managing to avoid a political confrontation that could trigger the collapse of the Palestinians' fragile economy and governing structure, an outcome almost no one desires."

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