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Thursday, January 26, 2006

What now with Hamas

So Hamas have won in the Palestinian elections. It is a somewhat depressing thought that so many voters would support a party constructed along military lines with the aims of destroying Israel. Though perhaps not surprising.

So what now? Well if they want any sort of aid from the US or the EU they will have to change their tune:

US President George W Bush said the US would not deal with Hamas unless it renounced its call to destroy Israel.

"I've made it very clear that the US does not support political parties that want to destroy our ally Israel," he said.

Mr Bush said the poll was a "wake-up call" for the Palestinian leadership, but he hoped Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas would stay in power.

"The onus is now on Hamas to choose between democracy or violence. You cannot have both," UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told the BBC.

The UK (with support from the US) was happy to deal with the IRA in a drive towards peace, the wisdom of that decision is yet to be borne out inasmuch as peace is not quite delivered yet even a cynic such as I must admit that things seem better in Northern Ireland - but they could not have gotten much worse. So now would we be able to deal effectively with Hamas? No, I think not. Mainly because no matter what concession we yield to them (as we did the IRA, eg. prisoner release, etc), Israel will not (rightfully so) since no concession will stop them wishing for the destruction of Israel.

So what hope is there for a Palestinian state with Hamas at the helm? I am not sure, this might act as a wake-up call for Hamas as they are effectively invited to the big-boy table. On the other hand they may see it as a mandate for continuing and indeed stepping up there war on Israel. If so I hold little hope for the creation or survival of a Palestinian state. The cynic in me would argue that if Israel were to recognise a sovereign Palestinian state under the leadership of Hamas and the latter were to continue with their intent to destroy Israel then we would have a state of formal war. Israel could simply push the Palestinians into the sea. What would that do to the rest of the region? Well many of the states around there have cared little for the fate of the Palestinians upto now except in paying lipservice. But that is just my cynical mind, I doubt that scenario.

What will happen, I have no idea. Scarily, I don't think Hamas has any idea either.

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