Now what? The world reacts to Hamas victory
Don't you just hate it when democracy turns around and bites you in the butt? The world is now faced with the unpalatable choice of either dealing with the duly democratically elected government in Palestine, which just happens to be a terrorist organization that does not recognize Israel's right to exist and has as one of its aims the total destruction of the Israeli state -- or -- refusing to recognize a democratically elected government.
There are those who will voice the opinion that now that Hamas is in power they will be forced to moderate and accomodate to providing for public services, etc., but precious little historical evidence exists for such moderation. Read Barry Rubin's piece called "The Myth of a Moderate Hamas" for further insights into this idea.
Paging Natan Sharansky, whose book about democracies has so inspired our president that he is on a one man crusade to democratize the entire Middle East. We saw one outcome in Iraq, we now see another in Palestine.
Israeli politicians are scrambling to figure out how to deal with this outcome, and what is suprising to me is how apparently surprised they are at this outcome. I would have thought that they would have considered this a distinct possibility and planned for it. But evidently pie in the sky is a dish that is not only being consumed in America by Condi Rice and George Bush, but has been part of the steady diet of Israeli politics as well.
Meanwhile, Israel continues its unilateral ceding of further territories in some quixotic quest to prove to the terrorists that they are really nice guys. Hey -- the Palestinians don't want Gaza, the West Bank or any of the other little bits of "territories" that Israel is willing to turn over -- they want the whole kahuna. And now they have Ahmadinejad on their side, there's no telling how emboldened they are feeling now.
The world will hem and haw, they'll make polite noises about not dealing with them until they renounce violence, and then they'll quietly set about dealing with them anyway. Hamas knows this.
And the embarrassing truth is that this makes a mockery of the "road to peace" and the entire unworkable Oslo accord. And nothing could demonstrate it better than the embarrassing statements from Condoleeza Rice (quoted below), who woke up this morning to see her Mideast policies in tatters.
Wake up before it's too late. Democracy is not a panacea in the Arab world. If democracies reflect the will of the people -- the world just learned what the will of the Palestinian people is, and no amount of putting a kind face on it will change that.
You can say that the people were really voting for all the social programs that Hamas instituted, you can say that Hamas will moderate, and we can hope against hope that it will, but most probably it points up that those of us who talked about the futility of this so-called peace-process, where Israel conceded territory in exchange for absolutely no guarantees except wild hopes, were correct.
The Standard - China's Business Newspaper
Israel and the United States refuse to deal with Hamas.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Washington's position on Hamas as a terrorist organization has not changed.
"You cannot have one foot in politics and another in terror," Rice said.
She added: "Palestinian people have apparently voted for change, but we believe their aspirations for peace and a peaceful life remain unchanged."
Rice said those goals will require renunciation of violence and terrorism and acceptance of Israel's right to exist side-by-side with a Palestinian state.
"You can't have a peace process if you're not committed to the right of your partner to exist."
More world reaction here