Thursday, January 26, 2006

Hamas Election - A Good Thing

For the last 10+ years Israel has been dealing with Fatah and the PLO. While they may have had a majority in the past, they have obviously lost it. Which means that any peace agreement would need to be enforced by a minority of the population upon the majority.

And when the majority are Hamas supporters, that's probably not good.

Keep in mind that Fatah has become riddled with corruption, a by-product of not being challenged. Hamas on the other hand provides hospitals and social services. They've denounced corruption. We're most familiar with their terrorism (for obvious reasons) but they have a strong social base in the community - presumably not all of whom support Hamas for terrorist purposes.

The election, and Fatah loss, are a good thing. Fatah, not being in the majority, would have a hard time imposing their views on the people. Any agreement made with Israel would only represent a minority view. And since Fatah is unlikely to use force against Hamas, further talks with Fatah might have been pointless. The elections will force Fatah to rebuild their party and clean up corruption. It should also moderate Hamas, who will, for the first time, need to do more than just run their hospitals and suicide bombers. Government has a lot more overhead. They can't pin problems on Fatah anymore, they are the government.

Competition is a wonderful thing.

David Bernstein, over at the Volokh Conspiracy, writes:
Meanwhile, in my view, the gloves are off. If Hamas doesn't recognize Israel right away, I can't see any reason why Israel wouldn't be perfectly within its rights to destroy all PA government buildings, given that they are now the assets of a terrorist group that demands Israel's destruction. There may be practical reasons (let Hamas implode on its own accord), but Israel has no more reason to treat Hamas as a legitimate government than the U.S. had to treat the Taliban as such.

He's right of course. Looking down the road I see two options. A moderated Hamas, recognizing Israel and saying no to violence (at least officially). Similar to the transformation of the PLO over time. Or, a speeded up security fence, like the one in Gaza, which has yet to let a suicide bomber slip by.