Posted by: Steve Coplan | April 24, 2006

Revised opinion – no 1.

A while back I speculated that the election of Hamas presented an opportunity to illustrate how Islamists could be accomodated in a pragmatic political process. As it turns out, Hamas were not elected as I initially postulated because Fatah was corrupt, but rather because they were ineffectual. I still think I was correct that most Palestinians are not intrinsically attracted to fundamentalism. What they find attractive after years of political compromise that have left them both emasculated and improverished, is that fundamentalists are hardcore, hardline hard arses. They didn't blink when the EU threatened to pull funding, haven't relented now that the squeeze is getting put on, and wouldn't disassociate themselves with blowing up civilians in easily the least desirable part of Tel Aviv. Now that they've gone down this road, Israeli voters are really going to get behind unilateral disengagement and very well-disguised land grabs- basically imposing military superiority over the more enduring option of political reconciliation. While Hamas' stance may give the Palestinians the sense that they finally have their pride back, it will probably be fleeting unless enough Saudi and Iranian money makes it into the Palestinian Authority coffers. The losers here as they have been for the last 60 years are the average Palestinians.

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