Hamas Election Victory...
What are we to make of Hamas' sweeping election victory?
In my view, the engagement of a terrorist group in the political process in such an important manner, can only be a good thing. History shows that when such groups increasingly politicise, they tend also to progressively demilitarise. Moderate elements from within start to dominate and gain increasing momentum. Sinn Fein is an excellent example.
Hamas has said its year-long ceasefire demonstrates that it is committed to the political path. But last night, Dr Zahar said his organisation reserved the "right to resist" Israeli attacks on its activists and Palestinian territory. "We are under occupation. The Israelis continue aggression against our people: killing, detentions, demolitions. In order to stop this, we are entitled to self-defence by all means including using guns. If the Israelis stop their aggression, we will be committed to the quiet," he said.
Reactions from world leaders didn't vary much:
Mr Bush implicitly acknowledged that it would be difficult to shun a movement that has won a fair election at a time when the west is pressing other Arab countries to democratise. He said the result was a "wake-up call" for the old Palestinian leadership.
Tony Blair said Hamas had won a powerful mandate, but must decide "between a path of democracy or a path of violence".
From Israel, the same old "terrorist rhetoric":
"If a government led by Hamas or in which Hamas is a coalition partner is established, the Palestinian Authority will turn into an authority that supports terror," said Mr Olmert. "Israel and the world will ignore it and make it irrelevant."
Via The Guardian.
Keywords: Hamas, Palestine, Israel, Bush, Blair