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Elections vindicated

Reader comment on item: Thoughts on Hamas' Ascendance

Submitted by Kurt (Japan), Jan 29, 2006 at 20:13

Dr. Pipes says that the difference between Hamas and Fatah is illusory, which makes sense to me. Both are basically terrorist organizations, and as others have pointed out, at least now it will be more difficult for Fatah and Hamas to play "good cop/bad cop" as they did before when Fatah claimed inability to control terrorist attacks on Israel. There can be no excuses now. With Hamas in power, the PA will be unable to deny its culpability.

This will also force voters to take responsibility for the actions of the government. With elections (the PA can hardly be characterized as a democracy which can be expected to behave responsibly based on a single election, but I digress) the voters truly get the government they deserve, and sufffer the consequences of their votes. It seems to me that the only way for Hamas to lose its popularity among the Palestinians is for it to take power and, with our help, fail in it aims. In the future, if the opportunity arises, they may vote in a more rational manner.

To this end, it is essential, as Dr. Pipes says, that the U.S. and other countries refuse to support this government with aid and cooperation. The Palestinians must bear the fruits of their decision. My worry is that, starting with the Europeans, governments will rush to rationalize cooperation with Hamas because it was elected and is therefore "legitimate", or accept at face value any conciliatory noises made by Hamas in English, thus undermining the positive aspects of the election.

Perhaps the reason Dr. Pipes opposes a rush to "democracy" is that he fears a lack of resolve on the part of the West? If so, recent events indicate that he may be right, but I think resolve is equally necessary for the other responses he has outlined to the Islamist threat, and it seems to me that the "stability" we have experienced in the Middle East to date will prove useless in the long run, and possibly counter-productive.

Certainly this seems to be the case up to now: has the situation regarding Islamsm in "stable" Egypt, Saudi, etc. become better or worse over the years? The longer we put off surgery, the worse the underlying ailment becomes. The Bush Administration seems to be on the right track as long as our courage can be maintained and we keep our eyes focused on our enemies. Helping to hasten the inevitable fall of the foremost Islamist government, Iran, would seem another essential element.
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