Hamas apologists insist in the media, and in comments to this blog, that the US has it all wrong. The Palestinians didn’t elect Hamas because of their stance on terror; they elected them to clean up government and start delivering services promised by Fatah. Count Richard Cohen among the unconvinced:
While it is probably true, as everyone says, that Hamas won the recent Palestinian elections not because it promised to wipe out Israel but because it promised to pick up the garbage in Gaza City (all politics is local, etc.), it is also true that the prospect of increased violence did not deter the average Palestinian from voting for Hamas. We have seen this sort of thing before, and it is not very comforting. The rule — the only rule — is to take zealots at their word.
History speaks on this matter. If you asked a random German in, say, 1932 whether by voting for the Nazis he was voting for the murder of Jews and a destructive European war of unimaginable scope and horror, he would have said, ” Nein !” What he really wanted was an end to the brawling in the streets, a robust foreign policy and a big thumbs-up to traditional German culture — no more of this smutty modern art and filthy plays: ” Willkommen , Bienvenue , Welcome.” Not any more. The cabaret is closed! …
Unfortunately, the men who were supposed to implement one sort of Nazi program were determined to implement it all. They had made no bones about it; it was all in their bible, “Mein Kampf,” and in their rallies and speeches. It took some effort to overlook it, but a considerable number of people managed to do so and later professed shock at what happened. They looked into the abyss, saw nothing that concerned them personally — and emitted a yawn of contentment.
Zealots do not listen to reason; they do not moderate when given total power. How often do we have to learn that before these truths get accepted? Communism did not moderate; Maoists did not moderate; the Khmer Rouge did not moderate; radical Islamists won’t moderate either, in or out of power. In fact, they have an outer-directed influence that none of the other zealots had that makes moderation even less likely — they believe they are commanded by Allah to rid the land of Jews.
In the end, the Palestinians know this as well as anyone, and they elected these murderous lunatics into power. The responsibility is theirs, and so are the consequences. Issuing apologetics for Hamas in advance only enables yheir worst instincts and entrenches the danger ever deeper in Southwest Asia. Read all of Cohen’s column.