Democracy, respect, and the Palestinian elections

There’s been a bit of buzz about lately concerning the US and Israel’s not-so-secret plans to destabilize and, hopefully, topple the Hamas-led new Palestinian government. The standard cries are that we are being hypocritical, that we asked the Palestinians to choose their government in a free and democratic election, and now that we don’t like their choice, we’re backsliding on our commitment to democracy.

This, quite frankly, is a load of codswallop.

The United States DID respect that election. We made no allegations of fraud, did not accuse Hamas of stealing the election, in no way undermined or devalued their win.

But that’s irrelevant here. Because our grievance isn’t with the Palestinian government per se, but Hamas itself. And now, just because the Palestinian government is a part of Hamas (and not vice versa), does not mean that our beefs with Hamas are all wiped clean. There might be an argument there, if Hamas had asked for such and foresworn the sort of things that had earned its place on our list of terrorist organizations, but they have not. In fact, they have boldly reasserted their beliefs: continued war with Israel, no negotiations, no compromises, and their ultimate goal remains the destruction of Israel.

In that context, it can be argued that the Palestinian government is little more than a hostage of Hamas, as the terrorists hide behind the veneer of respectability the Palestinian Authority offers while continuing their terrorist ways. I’d go even further than that, though; I’d liken them to the “peace activists” who willingly offer themselves as human shields for terrorists.

We told the Palestinian people up-front what some of the consequences would be if they chose to side with Hamas — as did Israel. We said that we would continue to treat Hamas as the terrorist organization they have worked so hard to establish themselves as, regardless of however the elections turned out.

So a terrorist government has managed to take control of a semi-legitimate government. Big deal. So did the Taliban, in a slightly less peaceful process. We didn’t let that stop us then, and we shouldn’t let it stop us now.

We not only have a right to attempt to destabilize and topple the Hamas-led government, we have an obligation. Regardless of electoral status, Hamas remains a terrorist organization — albeit one with a more-upscale address now.

And as numerous others have pointed out, the fact that they hold the reins of power in the government means that the leaders are just that much easier to locate. Kind of obliging of them, in a way.

Moving day
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  1. Lew Clark February 20, 2006
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