Hamas: The New (Shrouded) Face Of Democracy


Arab Palestinians have been screwed throughout the course of history, so it’s not hard to imagine how Hamas became the strong-armed, righteous voice of their people. Their tactics as a revolutionary front (social services, terrorism, etc.) are well documented, so now, as the democratically elected, legislative representatives of the Palestinian people, the question at large is how will they lead as a political party?

The transition to an open-political organization is going to be difficult at best, as Hamas’ senior leadership has been in hiding since Israel assassinated founder Sheik Yassin and then his replacement, Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, just a month later in the Spring of 2004. They’re probably the most decenralized political organization in the world; the type of organizational change necessary to run legislative politics and foreign policy relationships cannot happen overnight.

And on the other side of the planet, how did the US react to this true democratic expression of change? Yesterday, President Bush awkwardly framed the US perspective:

A few of his comments were very telling (emphasis mine):

…The elections yesterday were very interesting.

On the other hand, I don’t see how you can be a partner in peace, if you advocate the destruction of a country as a part of your platform. And I know you can’t be a partner in peace if your party has an armed wing.

And so, the elections just took place, we’ll watch very closely about the formation of the government. But uhm… I will continue to remind people about what I just said. That uh… if your platform is the destruction of Israel, it means you’re not a partner in peace…

First of all, if one doesn’t understand the history of the Jewish-Israeli/Arab-Palestinian struggle, as well as the corruption of the Fatah Party, then there is no way to understand how Hamas has become the democratically elected representatives of the Palestinian people.

As for this reaction to “an armed wing” of a party, can we please recognize the situation for what it is without the bullshit?

  • During it’s foundation years, Israel created Haganah to defend Israeli settlers, which later became the foundation for the Israeli Defense Forces—Israeli’s army
  • The outgoing party of yesterday’s election, Fatah, was an armed party, just not as overt as Hamas
  • While the US does not have armed political parties, we do have the most powerful armed forces in the world

Everyone at the table is armed, each with an agenda and a stake to claim. Now that we have that straight, I guess the question remaining is who’s going to blink first?