hamas and elections

Amen! I can’t count the number of times I’ve argued that WWI is the cause of the mess we’re in right now. Heck, it’s been the cause of just about every mess since then.

I say we blame it on Napoleon, since ripples from his actions caused the Great War.

Its seems futile to dig up the past and use the holes we have dug for ourselves as trenches to fight those with differering perspectives of history. With this in mind I post this to see if this thread can be turned to a more progressive debate.

The following is not my personal view, i came a cross while searching the web. It presents a more moderate outlook.

All quiet on the Middle Eastern front
Hamas may have won the Palestinian elections, but Western predictions of war and bloodshed are wide off the mark.
by Nicholas Frayn

Canada went to the polls this week, but you might have missed that. After all, it only has a population of 33 million and a GDP of $1.07 trillion. By contrast, it was pretty hard to miss the elections in Palestine, whose population, in those areas covered in the election, is 3.6 million and its GDP $2.56 billion. As in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt, all Middle East elections are now treated as events of world importance and repeatedly described as ‘historic’. In the Western press, the region is seen as a timebomb, waiting to go off. The press cannot get enough of any new development that might upset that balance, and detonate an explosion.

In Edward Said’s seminal work of postmodernism, Orientalism, he described the way that scholars invert the West to produce an image of the East. For example, at the height of Victorian productivity and repressive virtue, the East was considered languid and sensual. Today, we invert the stability and order of our world into an unstable and dangerous mirror image. Furthermore, Said claimed, the negative image presented of the East becomes a justification of the West. They are despotic, we are democratic; they (in an inversion of the Victorian discourse) are sexually repressed, we are liberated. They are intolerant, we are tolerant.

This pattern has become well established of late. The belligerent tone adopted by the European Union and USA towards ‘intransigent’ or ‘radical’ regimes in Iran and Syria belies the fact that these are extremely stable, if not moribund, states that have happily dealt with the West in the past and would dearly love some rapprochement (1). In Palestine, even before the election results were announced, the battle of words had already begun about the suitability of Hamas for government (2).

As it happens, the Palestinian elections are probably not of great significance, even to the electorate. It is unclear how much difference Hamas’ victory will make. They have accepted the same parameters of politics that guided Fatah through the Oslo years. In a very useful essay on Hamas, veteran Palestine correspondent Graham Usher argues that: ‘Hamas has gone mainstream, moving from a movement of parallel or alternative political authority to the existing PA/PLO political system to one of participation and integration within it.’ (3)

Indeed, the Islamic Resistance Movement is perhaps closer to the type of reform movement that the US has tried to encourage elsewhere, than either one would care to admit. Hamas is challenging precisely the kind of entrenched and corrupt elite with which the US has engaged in a war of words. They are the Ukraine’s Orange Revolutionaries dressed in green (4).

On a recent trip to the Middle East, I was struck by how little impact the issue of Palestine is making beyond its own borders, and how slightly the situation resembles the tumultuous picture presented in the media. In Amman, the Jordanians’ gaze is directed firmly eastwards, to the promise and peril that the Iraq war represents. Business is booming, I was told, a fact that is apparent from the numerous construction projects, fancy cars and new restaurants.

But in the next breath, people speak of their anxiety that the Iraq war is spilling over the border, as witnessed by the recent suicide bombings in Jordan or the influx of Iraqi refugees. The disjuncture between Western imaginings of the region and the reality - a marked similarity between the politics of the Middle East and those of the West - becomes clearest in people’s visions for the future. The great Arab nationalist, Gamal Abd-al Nasser, has been replaced in people’s esteem by the technocratic ruler of the Gulf Emirate, Dubai. Numerous people gushed to me about the fact that Sheikh Muhammad Bin-Rashid al-Maktum runs his fiefdom as if he were the CEO of a large corporation. Politics is seen as a messy obstacle to business.

	The US spent millions on trying to shore up the Palestinian Authority against Hamas

Damascus is busy with its own affairs, too. The potential for further conflict with the US hangs as a cloud over otherwise stable circumstances. Although the economic situation is dire, the old city was busy enough to rival Oxford Street on the night before the most recent Eid celebration. Families strolled through the ancient streets enjoying the spectacle, buying cheap toys for the children, and snacking on street food. The regime has loosened its draconian grip in recent years, at least informally, and people are appreciating the more relaxed atmosphere.

They would certainly like to see further changes, but not a single person, friend or enemy of the regime, failed to tell me of their opposition to outside intervention. This might always have been the case - Syria remains staunchly nationalist compared to some of its neighbours - but the example of Iraq has confirmed the principle.

Unfortunately, our obsessive focus on the Middle East is not without consequence. As Said would say, the categories through which we view the world are constitutive; that is, the way we think about the world impacts on the way we act within it. Once we begin to act as if the tumult is real, we risk making it so. A good example came in the buildup to the Palestinian elections. The Washington Post reports that the US outspent all Palestinian political parties in an attempt to shore up the Palestinian Authority against Hamas (5). This was done covertly, by setting up projects that would be attributed to the PA. Such meddling risks creating unstable and unaccountable governments. If the PA could only have won based on the backing of the US, how could it represent local interests?

As long as we continue our childish fantasies about the Middle East, we risk creating an actual nightmare for the people of the region.

Nicholas Frayn is an editor of the new blog Against the War on Terror.

(1) See, for example, Iran: An Irrational War of Words, by Brendan O’Neill, or Making Syria Sorry, by Nicholas Frayn

(2) The White House has repeatedly stated that they will not deal with Hamas. See Tense Wait for Palestinian Result, BBC News, January 26th, 2006

(3) The new Hamas, Middle East International, 23 June 2005. Sadly Middle East International, after providing excellent news coverage of the region for many years, has published its last issue. But this article is still available online.

(4) For more on this, see Iranian Elections: no throwback to '79, by Nicholas Frayn

(5) ‘US Funds Enter Fray in Palestinian Elections’, Washington Post, 22 January 2006

The issues aren’t about to be solved yet. We have many more years to go. The hatred on both sides hasn’t turned to abject hopelessness, and nothing will change until that happens. It will take a generation of both Palestinians and Israelis to look at their parents and grand parents in disbelief and simply ignore all of them in a search for accomodation. The real solutions will only come when there is leadership on both sides with the vision to reject the polemics of the past and look to the honest compromises necessary. We ain’t even close.


Good article Aero, thanks for the input.

Currently, Canada is an ally and no threat. They are pissed regarding the lumber situation, but that will eventually be overcome.

Our focus on the Middle-East stems from the fact that most of the people living there actually believe the bs that the governments and religious leaders claim regarding the West and Israel.

Peruse Arabs for Israel regarding this brainwashing. Yes, I know, our media, government, religious leaders try to do this to, but our people are provided a tax-paid education and many can see throught the lies. LOL, Russert nailed Frist this morning big time. It was hilarious to see him squirm. I am not sure, but most in the Middle-East are not provided an eduation, except in Israel.

My concern stems from what they are telling their people regarding the West and Israel. Also, I have found the CAIR may be a problem in the US. Many of this organization’s employees, past and present have been nailed. Even Dick Dubin described CAIR as a threat.

Tent, - agreed -

I agree, no need to worry about Canada, lol

Don’t take this as an attack, I know this is an issue where tempers often flare.

Using broad generalisations of the middle-east regarding this is unhelpful.

Regarding Palestine: I am intrigued as to your source for stating that:
‘the fact that most of the people living there actually believe the bs that the governments and religious leaders claim regarding the West and Israel’

I do not believe this to be the case, although more so in Palestine than elsewhere, but with greater reason. Further-more; the international press institute reports: Press Freedom Violations in Israel and Palestine September 29, 2000 - September 28, 2004:

“Since the beginning of the violent crisis in Israel, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and the areas under Palestinian Authority rule on September 28, 2000, journalists have featured heavily among the victims. Journalists and media workers have been targeted and injured with missiles, live ammunition, shelling, shrapnel, ricochets, and rubber-coated steel bullets, and they have been harassed and physically assaulted in other ways. (Rubber-coated steel bullets are supposedly used by the Israeli army mainly against stone-throwers. Unlike rubber bullets, they are sometimes lethal.) Out of 213 violations involved shootings, shellings, bombings and missile attacks, 204 were carried out by Israelis, four by Palestinians, and five by unknown perpetrators. Many Palestinian broadcasting stations were effectively censored due to shutdown by order of authorities (Israeli and Palestinian) or because of (Israeli) missile or bombing attacks. Journalists have been jailed for several months at a time by the Israelis without even being charged with an offence. All Palestinian journalists have been denied Israeli press cards by Israel’s Government Press Office and have thus been severely obstructed in carrying out the duties of their profession. By the stroke of a pen, around 450 media professionals, or the press corps of a whole nation, have therefore been disabled by a foreign military occupying power from reporting freely on dramatic and momentous events in their own home country.”

No I don’t trust journalist either but removing bias, it would seem that there is something in it.

So unlike in the west there would seem to be a lack of other sources of information in Palestine other than the government and religious leaders. Even so the vote for Hamas would better be called a protest vote against the corruption, and infighting of Fatah rather than a reflection of extremist views throughout Palestine. Most people in Palestine don’t want more attacks on Israeli, they know it will bring them hardship and possibly destruction. They voted for Hamas because they ran a good campaign and came out looking clean, incorruptible, united, capable of securing the banditry going on in the newly acquired areas and providing things like education and wealth generation. So call them what you want but I think you do not do them justice, they know more of the troubles than you or I will ever comprehend.

Secondly you do not do justice to education within the middle east as a whole, but regarding Palestine they are less well educated than many in the middle east and I refer you to this:

grassrootsonline.org/Palesti … ation.html
"Palestine Now September 24, 2002
Right to Education in Palestine
Throughout the current intifada school age children have suffered from increasing exposure to violence, trauma and poverty as well as from confinement and a lack of educational, social and cultural outlets due to the closures and curfews. In particular, Palestinians’ right to education, as enshrined in international covenants, has been violated through Israeli military curfews and closures which prevent students and teachers from reaching their schools as well as the destruction and closure of some schools by the Israeli military. Furthermore, school children have been attacked by the Israeli army and illegal Jewish settlers while travelling to and from their places of study.
These violations of Palestinians’ right to education affect not only the current generation of students, but also compromise the ability of Palestinian society to rebuild and develop for future generations. Grassroots partner, the Gaza Community Mental Health Program, states: “It will be impossible to build a healthy society that participates in decision-making and contributes towards development without education. Furthermore, sound mental health cannot be attained with a combination of ignorance and occupation. The root of the problem is the occupation and it must be ended as a first step towards solving its consequences.” (Click here to read GCMHP’s press release “A New School Year under the Occupation”).
In July 2002 the Palestinian Ministry of Education released statistics from the 2001-2002 school year. They reported:
*216 students killed
*2514 students injured
*164 students arrested
*17 teachers killed

  • 71 teachers arrested
    In addition, the Ministry reported that during the first 3 weeks of the siege of Palestinian areas by Israeli forces in March 2002 (during “Operation Defensive Shield”): 1289 schools were closed, 50 percent of Palestinian students (including 87,000 university students) were prevented from reaching their schools and universities, 11 schools were completely destroyed and 9 seriously damaged, 15 schools were used as military installations, and 15 more as detention/holding facilities, and approximately 54,730 teaching sessions per day were lost.’
    Whilst I’m aware that this is inherently bias information, no doubt there is something in it. "

It would seem in this post that I am blaming Israel for lack of freedom of press and lack in education in Palestine but I refute that I am simply stating the other side of the story and I am not taking sides ( I also accept that these ‘infractions’ were actually done with the intentions of security for Israel under attack from terrorists). Indeed I am agreeing that lack of free press and education in Palestine may help explain the election of Hamas, lack of understanding of the west might explain why Palestinians thought they could get what they want (incorruptible, undividable leadership with law and order, education and wealth generation) through electing Hamas (resulting in probable suspension of aid from the west)



Hey, you finally understand why Palestine does what it does…Nicely done, you’re making progress.

Oh yeah, Imp., could you tell everyone on whose authority the Jewish state was created…And if the authority that created Israel is a sham, then isn’t Israel a sham also?

Try 181 and 242. Might as well throw in the Geneva convention while we’re at it.

181 and 242… right… show me the details…

if the un was worth a damn they’d have sent their blue helmeted wonders into tel aviv long ago…



Not to get involved in the argument, but to further the debate I believe Nihilistic refers to UN resolutions:
181 -

good old yale
Im not gonna post them because 181 is LONG!
plenty to pick apart im sure

please continue



Yay imperialism, and latent racism. The PC PoR

If it’s all a sham, then you won’t mind explaining this bit about the un being fiar, will you?

and of course the un will side with the terrorists against israel, but they the un will lose any shred of objectivity or fairness and be exposed for the sham it is… the un goes the way of the league…

Just so we’re clear, the U.N. doesn’t have authority over Israel or any other nation, but given this lack of authority they should have exercised their authority in Israel?

Resolution 181 is the resolution that granted Irael it’s statehood, which also happened to grant a Palestinian state. Tell me imp., did Israel not sign this one?


What on earth would give you that idea? :unamused:



What I really want to know is this:

How does Hamas being elected specifically hurt the USA?

If someone can actually answer this I’d love to hear…


I was speaking more to the members of the “white european invasion”, and while I don’t necessarily get the feeling that you support it, you obviously don’t support the means for stopping it. I.e. UN and peace talks. Underminding them with generalized appeals to being “liberal” or “hippie”, makes one wonder if perhaps you are part of the “white european invasion” afterall. You leave yourself in a compromising situation.

So then the purpose of that quote was to show that you yourself side with Israel? Because it is either that, or a desire for the UN to discredit itself, but as you said the latter isn’t really an option. Just trying to pin-point…

Sarcasm, meant to show your inconsistencies. I was rephrasing your argument imp., nothing more. If you can’t see the inconsistencies of this…

the quote was from you. the un doesn’t mean a thing.



Let me guess, the present state of affairs resembles the past in such an analagous way, that it isn’t even worth trying? WWI, WWII, Cold War, finally a chance to make international cooperation work, but in this case, since it fits Imp. idealogical views, the future definately does resemble the past.

Fun catch phrase…Avoiding the point of someone’s post with catch phrases and witticisms seems to be a popular theme with you.

How many times has the American government discredited itself, or any other nation? According to you it’s all a sham anyway, they don’t need to discredit themselves because they didn’t have any credibility to begin with. Given your theory of “sham” one wonders why you attack the U.N. with such vehemence, leaving all other “shams” untouched…Could it be that you are the one who refuses to see, and is blinded by ideology? I see no other explination.

Next time I use sarcasm with you I’ll be sure to set it off with a halarious, yet telling, group of emoticons.

your “sarcasm” wasn’t presented as sarcasm. you presented it as justification for the existence of israel which is no justification.



It is true that the majority of the individuals living in the Middle-East support the erradication of Israel. Their polls have claimed this, not Western nor Israeli poll.

Yes, Israelis are better fighters than their enemies, hence the high casualties. Should they be condemed for winning? I think not.

I have checked, many in the Middle-East are literate, but generally with only an elementary type education with zero emphasis on critical thought. Those who have the university training are from the middle and upper middle classes.

After what Jews have suffered for thousands of years, discrimination, massacres, negative propaganda “Kill a Jew and go the heaven.” “Jews are descended from apes and pigs,” it it really any wonder that they use excess force, especially since the Arab world violated the UN charter and launched the initial attack.

One “moderate” reporter claimed that Nazi/Zionist Israel must be destroyed. You might want to read him: Khalid Amareh. He is often in Al Jazzeera and Ah Ahrem. He doesn’t make this claim in his articles, but he sure does in his emails. We no longer communicate, as he continually resorted to very vulgar ad homs and was really insulted when I threw a few right back at him. He then resorted to the victim whine, vicitimized by me and would not acknowledge he started the insults. What a baby.

Read both sides of the issue: arabsforisrael.com/pages/1/index.htm

I can provide many more sources. Noni Darwish is a Muslim, and has revealed what she was taught regarding Jew, to hate them, and changed after moving to the West.

With regards,


Perhaps I have quoted to much without actually concluding my point.

I was simply making the case that in seeking to weaken those in the middle-east that the US and Israel feel threatened by. The US and Israel have actually strengthened the positions of said threateners.

i.e in the democratic election of Hamas:

  1. Israel, in defending itself hampered the education of palestinons leading to easier ‘brainwashing’ of the general public by government, religious and extremist propaganda

  2. Israel in defending itself hampered freedom of speach, and journalists, and media mediums leading to easier ‘brainwashing’ of general public by government, religous and extremist propaganda

  3. whilst international observers said the election was generally free and fair they also mention that in Israeli controlled areas there was hampering of hamas candidates. I understand how Israelis feel about hamas standing for election, in opposing them they probably gave hamas more credibility to the palestinian people to do so was shortsighted.

  4. the US scared of Hamas gaing a foothold in the palestian authority seeked to make fatah look better by money, NGO involvement etc prior to the election. This too was shortsighted as it actually undermined Fatah making them look weak corrupt and out of control. providing ample ammunition to Hamas.

I realise that I have presented in a one sided way, I do this not as my peronal view, but because you make such a good argument for the other side that with these posts side by side with yours, the disscussion and presented evidence is far more balanced.

I make no judgement of who is right or wrong, it is beside the point now and futile anyway. To squable over things like the past, and such is folly and solves nothing. Everybody has blood on thier hands.

If you disagree lets just agree to disagree because I have no want of decending into the same unsolveable mutual animosity that rack said region.

an eye for an eye will blind the world. [ghandi]
and so it goes on


What’s your point, all these things prevented peace. The past century of world history was dominated by strife. Previous to that, we lacked necessary communication and technology to adequately impliment something like the U.N. So we are now in a unique position to try something that hasn’t been tried before, and isn’t weighed down by the fear of communism. You propose we don’t try it, because history dictates that it should fail. History does no such thing.

Umm, the U.N…

Tell me Imp., how many first world nations only idea of peace is our death?

Indeed you don’t, just odd to see you use that as justification for your views.(your only justification) Like it strengthens them or something?

Tell me imp. out of the last 5000 years, how long have we had mass communication, and a breakdown of geographical barriers. Also tell me, out of said time, how long have we not been fighting world wars, the lead up to and direct aftermath of(USSR)…

That may be so, but it’s still just a catch phrase.

I just find it a bit contradictory that you speak of fairness in international politics when everything is a sham. I also find it a bit idealogical and absurd that you rail against the U.N. with a vehemence that is un-parelleled in all your other polemics. You completely missed the point of that quote.

You’re not really this dense are you? Tell me your just messing with me, please!

Continue chanting the same anti-hippy mantra, it’s doing wonders for your argument. Just like the claim that nothing of significance has changed in recent history that could allow for peace to work.

Aero claims:

Yes, as we do, don’t we all.

and so it goes on

Actuallly Clarence Darrow started the saying. Must we all walk around blind.

Smiles, Aero we can agree to disagree. Fine, I have no problem with that. I know Israelis do use excess force, but understand why considering their history. I mean, hum, what are ther 12 million Jews left in the world. Ouch. I just feel a great deal of compassion for an industrious, well-educated group that have contributed so much to humanity in the last century. Take a look at the Noble Prize winners, take a look in the yellow pages and not how many Jew are physicians, lawyers, intellectuals in general. On average, Jews read five books a year. How many books does the average European or North American read. Think about it.

km_2, I do not want to hear the a-bomb crap. Einstein, and most of the scientist signed a letter to Truman opposing the testing and use of the a-bomb. Einstein was a total pacifist. :smiley:

the only thing that has changed in recent history happened about 60 years ago… 2 times… so far.

get off your high horse and stop telling everyone else how to live their lives… that is what dictators do…

Viva la revolution!!!