Holy holy sites, Batman! Hamas just snagged a majority; 76 of 132 seats, with Fatah garnering 43.
A few rhetorical bullets before the real ones start flying
- The "peace process" is six feet under; it was dead before, but it got buried today.
- Chuck the "road map;" you can't get there from here.
- Stick a fork in Labor. Well, they were done when Kadima got founded; they're crispy critters now.
- Bibi's the politically luckiest guy in town; the Likud hard-line looks a lot better now. It will likely be a Likud-Kadima coalition, but who comes in first may now come into question.
- Bugs Bunny with a yarmulke-"You do realize that this means war."
Now, to some more serious thought.
Are the Palestinians nuts? About as nuts as the Iranians when they elected Ahmadinejad.
Hang with me for a minute on this one. Ahmadinejad was running in part as the Iranian Shadegg, as the moderate clerics were starting to show signs of corruption. He was hard-core theologically, but at least he was and honest zealot; that's what went through some Iranian voters' minds. He was also running to the left on economics, becoming the champion of the poor.
Much the same pattern was in play in Palestine. Fatah makes Abramoff look like a choir boy and Hamas has a history of running hospitals, schools and other social programs. Yes, they're terrorists, but terrorists with a jihadified social gospel; half Salvation Army, half special-ops army. In a populous trained to dis the Israelis, both are selling points.
We'll now see how Hamas blends its private finances with governmental ones and how it blends its private paramilitary power with governmental military and paramilitary power. It may opt to lay low for a while, or it may decide to give Israel the middle-digit sal-oot right off the bat.
Will the Europeans back Hamas? Good question. A tortured "no" is likely.
Will the US give the Israelis the green light to play whack-a-mole with Hamas if they get frisky? Another good question. Likely yes.
Will Israel reoccupy the West Bank? Yet another good question. Likely yes.
Things won't be pretty for a while.
[Update 9PM 2/1-I deleted a comment that seemed to be comment spam. It didn't seem likely that this guy would be running this site, so I deleted the comment. Yes, that still gives him the link he seems to crave; I e-mailed the professor just now to check.
That means that Mr. Bauer's comment doesn't make much sense.]