In the rush to explain the landslide victory by Hamas, the news media and political pundits have focused their attention on the corruption within the Fattah, as being the main reason for voter dissatisfaction with the present PA government. But when viewed in the light of Israel’s recent disengagement from Gaza, the electoral victory by Hamas begins to take on an entirely different perspective.
Its not that the Palestinian electorate is any more discontent with Fattah than it was a week, month or even a year ago. On the contrary, the Palestinians are used to the institutionalized corruption and nepotism of the Fattah, its a cycle that has kept both dependent upon the other for over a decade. What has caught the Palestinian imagination now more than ever, is that the Hamas is perceived as being ‘the’ primary force in ejecting Israel from both Gaza and the four settlements in the West Bank.
The Palestinian electorate has totally misunderstood the disengagement policy of Ariel Sharon and his Kadima party, which was established on the basis of correcting the misguided assumptions of Oslo. Ariel Sharon had rightly concluded that security will eventually bring about the conditions for a final peace, not the other way around. Had the Palestinian Arab street understood that simple truth, they would have realized that a vote for Hamas, meant pushing their dream of a Palestinian state even further into the future. Instead, they chose to believe that Hamas (like the Hezbollah six years ago) was responsible for the new situation on the ground, not Israeli politicians who had long ago decided that there was no Palestinian partner for peace to negotiate with.
It appears that many in the international community are as clueless to the new dynamics in this conflict, as the Palestinians themselves. While much of the international community are shocked by the win of the Hamas, they still cling however, to the fiction that the Hamas can be more than the violent Islamist group that they are. They desperately hope that the Hamas, whose charter removes any doubt that a viable Israeli state can ever be an option, will somehow change their radical religious interpretations of the Quran upon which the movement was founded.
Palestinian politics has been turned on it head, with the IC no longer being able to demand that the Palestinian Authority to disarm its radical terrorist factions, since it would be effectively calling for the PA to disarm itself. The international community and its media have to get it right this time around, and not repeat former mistakes of yesteryear, when no act of Palestinian terrorism, (regardless of how atrocious) was allowed to stop the peace process, while every Israeli defencive measure was criticized as being a roadblock to peace. The Palestinians have now opted for struggle over moderation, for violence instead of peace. KGS