Posted by: fullandbye | January 26, 2006

The Middle East Collapses

Annika asked me earlier what I thought about Hamas’s victory in the Palestinian Elections.
Here is what I think:

I think that Hamas’s greatest asset in their war against Israel is the fact that their “army” is not part of any structured government.

If Hamas wishes to reinvent themselves as a branch of a legitimate government, they will have to formalize their forces and choose to follow the laws of war, which include laws against sending 16 year olds to blow themselves up on buses full of civilians. Now that they have some legitimacy, they will genuinely see what they are up against.

If Hamas want a war, they will get one. But the moment their forces become part of a formal military, and the moment that military threatens Israel, the full wrath of the IDF will be directed at Hamas, and by extension, at the Palestinian government. Meanwhile, the Arab world continues to show little interest in the plight of the Palestinians (but seem to be as keen to use them as political pawns) erstwhile the EU and the USA are even less inclined to send aid to a Palestinian government controlled by a terrorist organization with roots in fundamentalist Islam.

Israel will continue unilateral disengagement, and the mentality (now more of a reality) of a nation under siege will continue, at tremendous monetary and ideological cost.

In short, I think it is the worst possible thing that could happen to the Palestinians.
And the best possible thing to happen to the Israeli right wing.

Some time ago I made a prediction that there would be a comprehensive peace plan in effect by the end of this decade; I retract that position.


  1. I disagree
    I personally think it’s great!!
    I think it’s one of the best signs in a long time. I was going to post about it, even.
    to me, this seems like it means that the Palestinians now have a government that has the legitimacy of allowing its people to express through their vote a vested interest in the Palestinian authority, which before did not have any authority (including over Hamas) because it did not really allow them in due to outside pressure, resulting in that very lack of faith by the Palestinians in the Palestinian Authority’s representativeness.
    and hey, if this means that Hamas has a greater chance of working through politics, I don’t see how it will make anything worse. giving greater autonomy to Palestinians to pick whoever it is they want in their government is a great sign.
    if Israel can figure out a way to negotiate with the new palestinian government and some of the Hamas representatives are willing as well, it can only go in a better direction, because now palestinians have a more legitimate government…with far more authority to control the actions within/out it (or at least it’d be hard pressed to have less).

  2. as a follow-up/clarification of that, I was very gloomy about the peace process before. the main reason for that was that it was obvious from the last 15 years that no matter how many negotiations there were, the bottom line was that the PLO or the PA never REALLY had any authority over its terrorist factions, so could never made the security promises Israel needed. Therefore, the cycle would never end, because Israel was hell-bent on punishing Palestinians whenever those extremists made another headline.
    so in my opinion, anything that gives a Palestinian governing body more authority and legitimacy amongst Palestinians, the better. (because I do not believe that a majority of Palestinians really want to go to war, if they can make sure that their needs are met. so yes, I do accede that Hamas has to be able to diplomatic enough, and domestically savvy enough to be able to meet some of those social and economic needs, but like I said, I think they’d have to work hard to throw away their hard-gained legitimacy like that).

  3. last one, I swear
    …so I’m also hoping that being allowed access in the political process will have a somewhat moderating effect on the aims of Hamas.
    …which I think will be easier if int’l bodies are willing to work with them, too.

  4. I think that IF Hamas chooses to moderate their hardline position, then they have a chance to reinvent themselves as a genuinely respected political party.
    This is an enormous conditional statement though, I think that while the Palestinian people want peace, the hardliners who still form the backbone of Hamas’s political structure will be extremely reluctant to make ideological concessions, like acknowledging Israel’s right to exist, such an acknowledgment will be seen by those in power as a sort of implosion.
    I think we are about to see a war.

  5. I think it depends on how Israel chooses to respond to this. If Israel indeed stops all communications and negotiations, then Hamas’ hard line position will just be vindicated, because they can tout that Israel does not really want peace.

  6. that was kayanna, who forgot to log in again

  7. You know what? Fuck the Palestinians. While terrorism was an act committed by extremists, I was willing to be sympathetic to their plight. For the majority of a country to validate those activities by electing that body into office is to endorse that bloodshed.
    I understand that there are issues of corruption and civil administration involved, but there were also other choices for reform. Live by the sword, die by the sword. Fuck them.

  8. Alexi, are you applying to be a cabinet minister when Bibi Netanyahu is elected?

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