Thursday, January 26, 2006

Hats Off, Chainz

It looks like Chainz was right. The intervention of American money into the Palestinian elections did little to help Fatah, and might've helped Hamas.

The radical Islamic group Hamas claimed victory Thursday in voting for the first Palestinian parliament in a decade, saying it won a clear majority of seats and had the right to form the next government.

The claims, although unconfirmed officially, were followed by the resignation of Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia and the rest of his cabinet. Resignation was a formality following parliamentary elections, but Qureia acknowledged that Hamas had likely won a majority in the 132-seat legislature and should be given the opportunity to form the next cabinet.

"This is the choice of the people," Qureia told reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah. "It should be respected."

If confirmed by election officials in a Thursday evening news conference, the Hamas victory would end the governing Fatah party's decade-long control of the Palestinian Authority. It would also severely complicate Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' policy of pursuing negotiations with Israel under a U.S.-backed peace plan known as the roadmap, which conflicts with Hamas' platform in several key respects.

Hamas officials in Gaza City, where their victory was greatest, said the group has no plans to negotiate with Israel or recognize Israel's right to exist. Europe, Israel and the United States classify Hamas, formally known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, as a terrorist organization.

So the major political party and probably the government of nascent Palestine is a terrorist organization. The magnitude of this doesn't need to be emphasized too much, as it's blatantly obvious. What is most interesting about this though is whether Hamas will mature into a political entity or stick to its current suicide-bomber and violence-laced agenda. If so, expect nothing to happen in the whole Israel vs. Palestine mess. With Queria and Sharon both out of the picture now, and Hamas emboldened, no real advocates for peaceful co-existence are in the picture. Maybe Hamas will mature into a political party independent of violence. Perhaps they will continue to be dedicated to the destruction of Israel, but maybe in some peaceful way? Yeah, sounds dubious to me too.