Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Opinion Journal: "A vote for Hamas isn't necessarily a vote for genocide." Say what?

My first response to this article (by Khaled Abu Toameh, "the Palestinian affairs writer for the Jerusalem Post") was outrage, and the first draft of this post was entitled "The Same Aliens that control Jimmy Carter have taken control of Opinion Journal." On soberer consideration, perhaps what Toameh means is "A vote for Hamas isn't necessarily a *conscious* vote for genocide." Toameh would seem to be saying, not that Hamas isn't the party of genocide, but that a vote for Hamas isn't necessarily, well . . . a vote for Hamas.
Hamas's decision to focus on financial corruption, nepotism and anarchy is regarded by many Palestinians as wise. Had the Islamic movement put the destruction of Israel and the continuation of suicide bombings at the top of its platform, it would not have attracted such support: The majority of Palestinians are either exhausted by the intifada or simply don't believe that the elimination of Israel is realistic. And many who cast their ballots for Hamas in the municipal elections were quick to explain that this should be seen as a vote of protest against the Palestinian Authority rather than affiliation with fundamentalists and suicide attacks. Even some Christians in Bethlehem and Ramallah are not afraid to admit that they voted for Hamas.
Still, we get paragraphs like the following:
The rampant corruption of Arafat and the top brass of the Palestinian Authority--the only ones who are accused of mishandling the billions that the international community, including the U.S., poured in after Oslo--has been a boon to Hamas, which has attended to the provision of services to a desperately impoverished public. True, Hamas is a terrorist movement responsible for gruesome killings of innocent civilians.
So is the PLO/PA. Hamas is also a totalitarian movement whose charter affirms that the Protocols of Zion is true.
However, the movement that was founded in 1988 also runs a vast network of social, educational, health and economic services, especially in Gaza.
The government of Nazi Germany also provided social services.
In other words, Hamas has been doing exactly what the Palestinian Authority should have been doing all along.
The problem here is that the existence of these specific choices is being treated as a given. Who asked the Palestinians to have the PLO and Hamas for political parties?

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