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June 19, 2007

Hamas' Bittersweet Victory

Topics: Middle East News and Perspectives

Alon Ben-Meir's UPI commentary faults what he calls the Bush administration's "misguided policies" along with Fatah's ineptitude and corruption, and Israel's shortsightedness (these latter two I whole heartedly agree with), for Hamas now being in control of the Gaza Strip -setting the stage for potentially ominous developments, apparently forgetting that no previous administration has had any success in preventing the Palestinians from killing Israelis and that not much can be expected from a culture and society that doesn't even recognize Israel's right to exist. However, irregardless of his inability to do what comes natural from the academic left - through-in a quick "blame Bush" to begin a commentary or discussion as a start (although Bush does have plenty of faults to pick on - immigration and the Iraq strategy just to name a couple), Ben-Meir's piece is as reasonable an analysis of the situation as I've read since Hamas turned Gaza into Hamastan: Realpolitik: Hamas' bittersweet victory...

... Hamas is now in control of the Gaza Strip, setting the stage for potentially ominous developments.

Specifically, it was Israel, seeking a counterbalance to the Palestine Liberation Organization, that gave Hamas' early organizers a helping hand in the mid-1980s; it was Fatah's unscrupulous ways of governance combined with endemic corruption under Yasser Arafat that promoted discontent and militancy; it was the Bush administration's naivete and zealousness in pushing for Palestinian elections in January 2006 against the advice of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert without considering the consequences; and finally, it was the blind eye Egypt turned to the smuggling of weapons and explosives into Gaza during the past 10 years that have largely brought about this sorry state of affairs.

This conclusion is not the result of hindsight. The effects of such policies have been foreseen and written about on these pages and by many other commentators over the years. Decades of occupation, however explicable or necessitated by circumstances, have created two generations of embittered and disillusioned Palestinians with no hope of escape from intolerable conditions to a better future. And with no Palestinian Authority that cared, but an Authority that thrived on squandering resources and abusing power, an Authority infected to the core with nepotism, Hamas seized the opportunity to fill the vacuum, to offer meaning to otherwise shattered lives, to give the young a reason to live or die for a cause they could understand.

None of this, of course, justifies Hamas' extremism and militancy, not to speak of its avowal to seek the destruction of Israel. Indeed, while Hamas may have brought the hope of salvation to its followers, its determination to destroy Israel, should its leadership stick to this elusive goal, will bring about its own demise.

... And, because this too is a predictable end, now may be the moment that Hamas' leaders may well ask themselves: Where do we go from here? It is one thing to take over Gaza; it is an entirely different matter to make it a governable and economically viable entity where people can live in peace and security.

Continue reading ...Related: Bush Administration's Middle East Policies Get Mixed Review from Experts

Posted by Abdul at June 19, 2007 11:36 AM

Maybe Hamas taking over the Gaza Strip, may actually turn out to be a good thing - a "cloud with a silver lining". After all, now that Hamas is gone from the Palestinian government, the more "moderate" (I cringe at using that term when referring to Palestinians, but oh well) Abbas and Fatah have received the resounding political support of governments from all over the world, had President Bush lift the sanctions and the embargo, and are receiving all sorts of aid, logistic support, and assistance, from the U.S. as well as other countries, and may very well be in a much better position now to negotiate a "lasting" (and, again, I use the term cautiously when having to do with Palestinians) peace with Israel.

Come to think of it, since all the Hamas terrorists are now conveniently concentrated in Gaza, it offers the excellent opportunity to simply blanket-bomb Gaza until nothing remains but sand and the beach, and then the Abbas government can go ahead, re-develop the area, and start building new luxury Mega-Resorts all up and down the coastline, with the help of Israeli and American investors, and turn it into the new "Palestinian Riviera".

Now, wouldn't that do wonders for the economy of the impoverished Palestinians who, with Hamas, now have nothing to eat but empty bullet casings?I find it to be an excellent idea!

Althor :)

Posted by: Althor at June 19, 2007 9:41 PM

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