The newspapers tell me Hamas won a surprise victory in the Palestinian elections. I must have missed that. They also say Hamas can be domesticated by European diplomatic chitchat. I missed that, too. Finally, they say this result is a catastrophe. I missed that as well. Someone needs to pay more attention.
There does seem to be widespread surprise. On Thursday, a number of newspapers were reporting a Fatah victory in paper editions and a Hamas victory online. Yesterday’s main National Post headline said “Hamas win stuns world.”
I think the world was stunned long before. As writer George Jonas noted, this result ought not to have been surprising. Yasser Arafat’s Fatah administration was corrupt, unpopular and increasingly powerless. Perhaps sophisticated people assumed Fatah would quietly steal the election and planned quietly to acquiesce. If so they quietly underestimated the collapse of administration under Arafat, cowinner of the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for reasons history will never understand. Continue Reading →
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