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January 25, 2006
Palestinians Split Vote Between Terrorist Organizations

It's not like the Palestinians gave themselves much in the way of choice for their first Parliamentary elections in ten years, but in a surprise, the hardline Hamas terrorists took a bigger slice of the vote from the more moderate terrorists of Fatah in today's vote. Exit polling shows that Hamas will likely trail Fatah by a handful of seats in the new assembly, forcing the new government into the uncomfortable position of adding Hamas to its cabinet when most peacebrokers consider them part of the problem:

Hamas fared better than expected in Palestinian elections Wednesday, exit polls showed, raising the prospect that the ruling Fatah Party might be forced to form a coalition with the Islamic militant group that calls for Israel's destruction. The outcome could put Mideast peacekeeping at risk.

Fatah had said before the first parliamentary contest in a decade that it would rather team with small parties than join forces with Hamas, which has carried out dozens of terror attacks against the Jewish state and whose presence in the government would likely cause friction with Israel, the U.S. and Europe.

But with the militants making a strong showing in their first legislative run, Fatah would need the backing of an array of smaller parties to cobble together a government. Because some of the smaller parties have ties with Hamas, Fatah might not be able to court enough of them to form a coalition firm enough to survive the Palestinians' domestic challenges — and face Israel again at the negotiating table.

Once again, in a fairly free and somewhat honest vote, the Palestinians have chosen to continue waging war against Israel. Abbas wants to argue that Hamas will tame itself if it gets a chance to share governance with Fatah is sheer folly. This isn't the Sunnis in Iraq, who may resent the loss of influence and power with the fall of Saddam but have followed the movement towards democracy. Hamas formed out of a singular hatred and philosophical determination to annihilate Israel, and giving them power only hands them better weapons with which to carry out those aims.

The powers that work to impose a peace on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have failed to take into account that the Palestinians have shown over and over again that they not only do not want peace, they do not value peace at all. They have consistently voted in support of terrorist organizations. Peace-espousing political parties play no role in Palestinian electoral efforts. Certainly Fatah doesn't qualify as such; their own Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigade conducted nearly as many terrorist raids as Islamic Jihad under Yasser Arafat and now attack their own leaders for not being amenable enough to killing Israelis in pizzerias and bus stops. Until the world gets over the notion that peace can exist when one side wants nothing more than all-out war, the situation in Southwest Asia will forever be in a state of suspension.

Perhaps this election will finally convince the United States, if not Europe and Russia, of the folly of continued efforts on "road maps" and the like. Gaza showed that Fatah cannot govern a state, and the West Bank just elected bloodthirsty terrorists almost to a Parliamentary majority. These people want war. They will not settle for half the land when they believe a war will bring them all of it. In the end, it may be better for the world to let the two sides fight their war in order to make them both sick enough of the consequences to start selecting leaders that want peace and plan for it. If all the Palestinians understand is death and martyrdom, then let them have their fill of both.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 25, 2006 9:54 PM

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