Hamas 1/26/06

Hamas has won a landside victory in the recent Palestinian parliamentary elections. The New York Times reports of Israelis rudely caught by surprise-

The Hamas landslide in Palestinian elections has stunned Israelis, but it may also have brought them a rare moment of clarity: with peace talks off the table, Israel will most likely pursue unilateral actions, drawing its own borders and separating itself from the Palestinians

Hamas is one of the most popular and well-organized groups on ground in the region. They provide people with social services that the ruling Fatah party (often criticized for internal corruption and oppression) lacked in meting out. I was anticipating a replaying of the Hezbollah scenario long before the elections. Israel pulls out leaving a power vaccum in Gaza, where Hamas is strong, providing Hamas with an opportunity to formally enter the realm of administrative politics. Now, even though a lot of Hamas leaders have retained their original stance: that is the stipulation calling for the complete destruction of “Israel” and have denied that they will lay down their arms, I believe that Hamas will now 1) either break up into two-groups–a militant wing and a political wing and/or 2) assuage its staunchly militant stance towards Israel. Ofcourse, if Israel continues its pursuit of a belligerent, unilateral foreign policy in regard to the Palestinian issue, as reported by the New York Times, then it is difficult to say that the scenario laid out above will be realized in the foreseeable future.
CM has a list of Middle East must-reads. And if the humble narrator is allowed to put in his two words, he believes that the Hourani, and the Richards and Waterbury (Said is ofcourse obvious) texts have been very beneficial in expanding his unpraiseworthy yet sufficient knowledge of the region. Such humility!

Follow this link to CHAPATI MYSTERY.

PS. May the narrator also recommend, for those interested in Judeo-Islamic relations, a fine text by the name of “UNDER THE CRESCENT AND THE CROSS”

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