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A good result

Reader comment on item: [The Hamas Electoral Victory:] Democracy's Bitter Fruit

Submitted by Victor Purinton (United States), Jan 27, 2006 at 12:04

I think the Hamas victory could turn out to be a good thing, for several reasons:

- Hamas is now an elected governing body. They will want to hold on to that legitimate power, and in order to do that they will have to be responsive to their constituents, who are more concerned with jobs, security and corruption than with Israel. Hamas will have to focus on those issues if they wish to stay in power. This could induce them to moderate.

- Notwithstanding Hamas' legitimate victory, the international community has every right to reject Hamas as long as they deny Israel's right to exist. The Palestinian people will eventually realize that Hamas' position is hurting all Palestinians, and this will put additional pressure on Hamas.

- Within Hamas there will be a struggle (I predict that it will be bloody) over the question of recognition of Israel. There is no doubt a hard-line element within Hamas that 1) does not care a fig for democracy, and 2) will never agree that Israel has a right to exist. These hard-liners will be opposed by those within Hamas who realize that recognition of Israel is a (we might say) necessary evil. This will fracture the group, and therefore weaken its overall threat to Israel.

- Hamas' approval of democracy is yet another slap in the face to al Qaeda and other extremist Islamic groups that do not tolerate democracy at all. Their Islamist agenda can now be put the the test by voters who now have the power to reject it.

Fledgeling democracy is always a dicey matter. Joining the process was probably a bad idea for Hamas. It brings them no closer to their goal of eliminating Israel (in fact, it probably makes it harder), and it makes that tacit statement that Islamic law is subject to voter approval.

Overall, I think it is a good thing. It's definitely an interesting development.
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