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Is banning Hezbollah and Hamas realistic?

Reader comment on item: Can Hezbollah and Hamas Be Democratic?

Submitted by Emmanuel P (France), Mar 22, 2005 at 18:33

Although I share Mr. Pipes' concerns in the article, the question regarding Hezbollah and Hamas should be realism. In other words, is it realistic to believe that they can be excluded from the political process? I would like to believe that it is, but I have my doubts.

Hezbollah recently demonstrated the kind of power that it has among the Lebanese population, and to ban them from politics would be to ensure that they continue operating by clandestine means. Same goes for Hamas. Hamas, like it or not, has a lot of sympathy in certain parts of the occupied territories and to ban them from the political process would allow them to claim martyr status (no pun intended) and would probably increase the sympathy for them.

WIth the kind of power that these guys have in the arena of public opinion, I fear that it may be impossible to marginalize them. For example, take the case of Algeria in 1992. Although my gut reaction is to support the cancelling of the elections when the Islamists won, looking back you have to ask if it was worth it, based on the misery that Algeria suffered in the years that followed.

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