The Right Coast

January 26, 2006
Hamas' Victory
By Mike Rappaport

While it is certainly an unhappy result, it is useful in many respects. First, and most importantly, it forces the US (and perhaps some in Israel but not, I think, the Sharonites) to face up to the fact that their plans were founded on an illusion. The Palestinians are to a great extent supporters of terrorism and the destruction of Israel. There is no denying that now, although it will be denied.

Second, Fatah and the PA were corrupt and could not, in the current state, be the legitimate rulers of the Palestinians without the use of force. Individual rights, property rights, and the rule of law are sorely needed, but Fatah is just another kleptocracy. The US largely closed its eyes to that.

Third, there is an important division between Fatah and Hamas that US policy ignored. It is quite possible that the Palestinians will have a civil war, and perhaps they need one. They have to decide what they stand for.

Fourth, Hamas may have to face up to its own illusions. It cannot win a war with Israel, and Gaza is behind a fence. (Hopefully, the full Palestinian West Bank will be behind another fence soon.) If it does not moderate its position, it will be in a difficult position. It will be held responsible in the long run by Palestinians. The responsibilities of power may actually allow it to moderate enough so that the civil war between Fatah and Hamas will be avoided.

The great danger for the US and Europe would be to suddenly change their position and bargain with terrorists. But I am thinking that the US government at least understands this, even if it is willing to ignore many other inconvenient facts.