February 1, 2006
Palestinians Have Taken Off Masks, Israelis Can Take Off
person can be pleased when a terror group obtains political power,
especially via the ballot box. But I wasn't surprised by Hamas'
victory in the legislative elections in the Palestinian Authority,
nor am I especially alarmed by it.
to be said for clarity. What's changed in the Palestinian Authority
is less the reality there than the ability of liberals in the
West to keep ignoring it. Now the Palestinians will be represented
by one face, rather than two.
an Islamic fundamentalist terror group, very much like al Qaida.
It's raison d'etre is the destruction of Israel, and Hamas is
straightforward about it.
Fatah party, which Hamas trounced, is also devoted to the destruction
of Israel, but under longtime leader Yasir Arafat, was more clever
about it. Mr. Arafat would say one thing in English to those in
the West who desperately wanted to believe he was amenable to
a "two state solution," and something quite different
in Arabic to the home folks.
duplicity paid big dividends, especially for him. Israel at Oslo
granted Fatah a statelet, and the West showered upon it billions
of dollars in aid, much of which made its way into Mr. Arafat's
bank accounts (he died a multi-billionaire), and those of his
corruption probably had as much to do with the Hamas victory as
did rising blood lust on the part of ordinary Palestinians. Hamas
has developed a following by providing soup kitchens and other
Jimmy Carter, who are desperate to maintain their illusions stress
the corruption angle to assert that somehow, some way the West
can "work with" a PA government dominated by Hamas.
obtaining and maintaining political power is the be all and end
all. They'll say anything, and do anything (that doesn't involve
much risk to themselves) to get it and keep it. So they assume
that leaders of Hamas, faced with the responsibilities of governing,
will abandon their principles to keep power, as liberals would
But for Hamas,
the be all and end all is the destruction of Israel, and there
is absolutely no evidence Hamas' leaders will abandon that goal
now that they appear to be closer to obtaining it.
As it works
toward the glorious day when the Jews are driven into the sea,
Hamas will be trying to make Palestine like Afghanistan under
the Taliban. The number two man in the Hamas hierarchy told Toronto's
Globe and Mail they will move quickly to impose Islamic law.
zeal likely will come at a steep price. About 60 percent of the
PA's budget comes from foreign, chiefly Western, donors, of which
the United States is the largest. Much of the remainder consists
of customs duties collected by Israel on the Palestinians' behalf.
Bush and most Western European leaders say they won't do business
with a Hamas-dominated government, and Israel might decide it
is foolhardy to collect taxes on behalf of a statelet that is
devoted to Israel's destruction.
Some of the
shortfall likely will be made up for by Iran. But there are limits
to what the mullahs can do. Iran has serious financial problems
of its own, and most Iranians -- who are neither Arabs nor Sunni
Muslims -- don't give a rat's tuchus about the Palestinians.
A close relationship
with Iran, combined with the likelihood that much of al Qaida
will relocate in the PA (things are getting much to hot in Iraq)
will be further barriers to Western aid, without which the PA
find there are complications to governing. In the past, Hamas
could devote itself entirely to jihad. Now it must pay at least
some attention to sewers, schools and potholes.
must share power with president Mahmoud Abbas, to whom the Fatah-dominated
security services report. The civil war journalists have long
been predicting for Iraq is likely to break out soon in Palestine.
the Hamas victory is liberating. It clarifies for both the Israeli
public and the world at large that Palestinian hatred of the Jewish
state burns as brightly as it did in 1948, and in every year since.
to Palestinian terror was crippled during the years the world
pretended there was such a thing as a "peace process."
(Far more Israeli civilians were killed in the 13 years of "peace"
since the Oslo Accords than in the 45 years of hostility that
preceded it.) Now that the Palestinians have taken off their masks,
Israeli gloves can come off, too.