Saturday, February 18, 2006

Hamas Abandons Peace

Hamas formally took office today, taking control of the Palestinian Parliament. Mahmoud Abbas, current Palestinian leader, asked the Hamas leadership to recognize existing peace deals with Israel and to continue down the roadmap to peace. Mushir al-Masri, a leading Hamas legislator, rebuffed the call, saying that negotiations with Israel were "not on our agenda." (CTV: Hamas takes power, rejects calls for peace talks).

Israel is expected to respond on Sunday with additional sanctions against the Palestinians and is expected to seal off the Gaza Strip to keep out thousands of Palestinian workers. There can be little doubt that the prospects for peace in that region are now slimmer than they were in 1967 before the 6-day war.

Hamas is also besieged by the US who on Friday warned other Iran and other Islamic nations not to fund Hamas. Iranian support for Hamas may well be another point raised in the UN when sanctions and military action are brought before the Security Council.

What is clear is that Hamas - and by default the Palestinian people - now find themselves isolated. With the US and Israel turning the financial screws, it's questionable how long Hamas can maintain control. It's also almost a certainty that terror attacks will continue against Israel. Now that those attacks will be coming from the legitimate government of the Palestinian Authority, Israel's response will hardly be measured.

The Palestinian people are about to learn a very harsh lesson. With democracy comes responsibility. The Palestinian people have chosen to elect a terrorist legislature. That is certainly their right, but now they will have to live with the consequences of that ill-advised decision. By choosing to put in office a terrorist government, they have chosen to forfeit all funding from the US and allies. They have chosen a path that may well lead to war. They have chosen a path that will isolate them from the rest of the world.

Certainly, that is a risk we take when we promote Democracy in parts of the world that are not accustomed with governing themselves. The Palestinian people are free to choose whatever leaders they wish. That is the right granted by a Democratic government. Now they will learn the consequences of making such an irrational choice, however. Hopefully they will learn this lesson before it's too late.

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1 comment :

Alan Fraser said...

Did you think that perhaps Hamas INTENDS to lose the war. They go on to martyrdom and the rest of the Muslim world is so outraged against the Israeli destroyers that, in defeat, the Palestinians achieve exactly what they wanted.