Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Qureia' and his cabinet, most of which are Fatah, announced their resignation following the January 25th Palestinian elections. With a voter turnout of 77% preliminary results gave Hamas a substantial victory, taking 76 of the 132 seats, and proving that pollsters were clearly off in their predictions which favored a Fatah majority.
Whose predictions of what the Hamas victory will mean in the future will be proven wrong?
Before the election Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas was "hoping Hamas will be tamed by mainstream politics, that the day-to-day duties of government -- such as running schools, hospitals and garbage collection -- will lead to pragmatic change within the group." But does a militant terrorist group change because it is elected? According to the Israeli online news site Ynet, Hamas leader Mahmoud A-Zahhar continues to say that they will not change "a single word in their covenant" calling for the destruction of Israel, and that they would continue their path of 'resistance' in the West Bank even as they serve in the parliament. A-Zahhar said, "Hamas will not turn into a political party. Hamas plays in all fields. It plays in the field of resistance...The issue of weapons is related to the occupation. We will not receive dictations from Bush or anyone else…"
The Media Line reports President Bush's initial response to the election: "In his first reaction to the Palestinian elections, U.S. President George W. Bush told the Wall Street Journal that he would not negotiate with Hamas until the terror group renounces its desire to destroy Israel. A political party must support peace, and must act peacefully." And acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas members.
In order to overcome their negative image, Hamas hired a savvy PR expert to give them a makeover, which raised the obvious question: "How much of it is for real, and how much of it is a cynical ploy to grab power, then revert to big-time terrorism? Given Hamas' history, extreme skepticism is in order." The terrorist organization paid a media consultant $180,000 "to persuade Europeans and Americans that it is not a group of religious fanatics who relish suicide bombings and hate Jews."
But, no matter how they packaged themselves during the campaigns, or talked of moderation and even a truce, it all quickly fades by their continued harsh rhetoric towards Israel.
Hamas makes use of the internet as Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations do. Three years ago they started an online children's site, Al-Fateh (The Conqueror), which encourages methods of fighting 'their Zionist enemy.' An excellent resource with raw footage of Hamas and other terrorist activities in Israel, is the documentary "The New Barbarians, Training Children to Kill," It is a must see.
While Newsweek and other mainstream media outlets report on the ignorant and unrealistic optimism some have that Hamas will change now that they are in the government, the news of a Hamas victory rocked the World Economic Forum taking place in Switzerland. There were varied reactions, such as by the public policy scholar with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars who said, "I see no way, given the circumstances that exist on the ground, that Israel and the Palestinians can negotiate a conflict-ending agreement anytime soon." And by pollster James Zogby, who is also President of the Washington-based Arab-American Institute, who said the vote reflected the failure of the Fatah party to provide jobs, personal security and peace for the Palestinians. (Does this mean that Palestinians think Hamas will bring peace?) He also urged the international community to not withdraw aid from the Palestinian Authority because "extremism will only be fed", and urged Mahmoud Abbas not to resign.
Conservatives both in Israel and the United States, on the other hand, are posing some serious questions such Israpundit which asks, "Did Palestinian Arabs give the greenhat mujahideen killers of Hamas a landslide victory because they were fed up with the corrupt cronyism and ineffectiveness of Fatah or because they support the virulently hateful, genocidal agenda of Hamas?"
Founder and President of the Family Research Council and former Presidential candidate, Gary Bauer, 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?"
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?
More related Audio/Video here.
Read History of Hamas Murderous Attacks on Israel
Sharon Hughes - Sharon is the President of The Center for Changing Worldviews, and hosts Changing Worldviews TALK Radio which is heard
on KDIA AM1640 San Francisco; KGDP AM660 Santa Maria, CA and WITA AM1490 Knoxville, TN, as well as online daily at Oneplace.com. Her column appears on several online news sites including CaliforniaRepublic.org, ChronWatch.com, Ediblog.com, chNews.com, NewsWithviews.com, RenewAmerica.us and others. For further information visit her: Website www.changingworldviews.com