Reactions to Hamas Winning in Palestine

I know a lot of people don’t like Hamas, both Arabs and non-Arabs, both Palestinians and non-Palestinians, and both Muslims and non-Muslims. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I most certainly respect that. But I’ve read some comments in the past 24 hours that are at best faulty and at worst, absurd.

One of the major arguements or rather fears is that Hamas will turn Palestine into an ultra-conservative Muslim state (state as in state of mind). In my opinion this is doubtful. Let us keep in mind that Hamas did and does have the power to dominate Palestine with violence, today it’s been voted in democratically. This isn’t exactly Afghans voting in the Taliban. Palestinians know what they’re getting.

The second arguement seems to be that Palestinians have made a mistake and don’t know what their getting. Well I cannot say this isn’t true in the sense that what one votes for today can change drastically tomorrow. But then again who am I or anyone else for that matter to say Palestinians voted right or wrong? Most of the news people get on Hamas comes from the media and not on the ground. Palestinians do in fact benefit directly from Hamas socially and politically. Hamas has supported Palestinians with food, medical aid, and education. And when no official authority in Palestine reacts to Israeli aggression, Hamas offers a form of localized social justice when it stands up to Israel. Like it or not, disagree with it or not, it doesn’t negate the fact that this is true.
The third arguement centers around the U.S., Israel, and the future of negotiations.

In this arguement it’s been said that Israel and the U.S. will refuse to negotiate with Hamas as they identify it as a terrorist organization. This is true, and already Israel has declared it won’t deal with Hamas.

Suprise, Suprise! So we are assuming that had Hamas not won the elections, Israel and the U.S. would rush to the negotiation tables with Palestine. Yeah, I don’t think that’s going to happen. Where has the U.S. and Israel been in the past 5 years? When were the last negotiations? In the Clinton era? For the past 5 years the Bush administration has refused to negotiate with Arafat who was once deemed a partner in peace (he even won a nobel for it) back in the 90’s. The U.S. turned away from the conflict completely and allowed Israel to continue with building the wall, surrounding Arafat’s compound, Jenin, land grabs, illegal settlement building et cetera et cetera.

When did the world even acknowledge Arafat or the PLO as a legitimate negotiator for the Palestinian cause? They were all labeled as terrorists over the past half century only until recently in the context of this conflict.

In the end, Hamas has come to represent everything every other political group in Palestine is not: resistance. And this is what it boils down to. It’s easy to talk about negotiations and 2 state solutions but in practice it’s very difficult to actually sit down and implement. In this conflict when Palestinians come to negotiate for a certain piece of land by the time they get to the tables they find settlements have been built and the land has been taken. Negotiate that.

We as outsiders consistantly make the mistake of framing Palestine as an actual state with citizens. In the process we forget this is a people and a land that is being occupied. Like it or not, disagree with it or not, it doesn’t negate the fact that this is true. Reality dictates as such. And for every action there needs to be some form of reaction; Hamas has come to define that reaction.

Allow me to end with a quote from Ali Abunimah, founder of the Electronic Intifada.

The election result is not entirely surprising, however, and has been foreshadowed by recent events. Take for example the city of Qalqilya in the north of the West Bank. Hemmed in by Israeli settlements and now completely surrounded by a concrete wall, the city’s fifty thousand residents are prisoners in a Israeli-controlled giant ghetto. For years Qalqilya’s city council was controlled by Fatah but after the completion of the wall, voters in last years’ municipal elections awarded every single city council seat to Hamas. The Qalqilya effect has now spread across the occcupied territories, with Hamas reportedly winning virtually all of the seats elected on a geographic basis. Thus Hamas’ success is as much an expression of the determination of Palestinians to resist Israel’s efforts to force their surrender as it is a rejection of Fatah. It reduces the conflict to its most fundamental elements: there is occupation, and there is resistance.


  • Naseem,
    Thank you for the sound of reason! What a lot of people fail to realize is that it is that each and everyone of us is biased in a way or the other, we basicly have different “constructed” world! depending on each individual experience we tend to percieve the in unique way. However, we do have common ‘inputs’. Let us keep in mind is the ‘ther’ has mastered the art and technology of the media industry. it takes much more than our instinct and intuition to weigh the validity of a news source. We have to be aware of this dangerous fact.
    The less understanding to each other the easier to be penetrated. I beg everybody to be civilized, understanding aware of the real challenges we face. It amazes me how little we know and how much we fire at each other.
    Sad news to many of you out there, unless you eduacate yourself better about some subject (politics) in this case, and unless you reach to the others properly, you will be playing outside the arena! just a distant noise with barely any weight at all. teach yourselves some manners while youre at it, will you?
    Let us save all the energy and speeches and face our true enemy instead of becoming our own.
    have a good one everybody.

  • Well, like I’ve been saying all day … I am disappointed with the results, however this is what the people chose. We have to wait and see what tomorrow will bring. At this point, it is very pertinent that Palestinians work together for a better government, a better tomorrow! Good luck and I hope the people and the newly formed government are up to it

  • Nas, wonderful post. You’ve said all what’s on my mind in the most perfect way! thanks.

    The comments of bloggers on this are really depressing. I just want them all to know, that if Hamas wanted to turn Palestine to a conservative community, it could’ve done that long time ago, so no need for the disturbing notes of some fellow non-Muslim bloggers who are expressing the fear they will be brutaly killed! I mean Christians and Muslims in Palestine have lived together in peace since forever, I could not understand why this sudden fear of Muslims has occured!!

    Another thing is, Palestinians living in Palestine are on their own facing occupation. We only watch them, so we have no right to start talking terribly about their choices; whether their choice was right or not, time will only tell, but I really wish others will respect their choice and cool down, it’s not the end of the world!

  • Absolutely agree with your points.
    The dilemma is quite simple, we donâ??t need to manipulate it anymore. Hamas was the pure democratic choice of the Palestinians them selves, and they indeed know better what and whom theyâ??re dealing with, we who live outside the trauma wonâ??t be able to judge in any case whether this would be better or not, but we canâ??t claim that the majority of the Palestinians are blind. Most of them have chosen Hamas because of their inner consciousness that resistance â??referring to intellectual resistance as wellâ? is the right path.
    The history of the Palestinian authority didnâ??t have that bright role through the past decades,
    I certainly see how scary this could be to other parties in Jordan at the most case, but itâ??s very pitiable how people pointing to Hamas as the â??mindless extremistâ? term, this too bad!!! Specially when hearing it from whom supposed to be â??literate and open-mindedâ?
    However, Iâ??m one of those whom looking for promising â??not probably calmerâ? future in the Palestinian stateâ?¦.

  • Hey Nasim I enjoyed reading your post. Although, I had more pesimestic view to the situation, the truth is that this the first time in the Arab history where an opposition political party ascend to govern in a democratic way and that makes me feel proud. Besides it will be interesting to see if any political opposion party can deliver what an Arab goverment cann’t. So let’s wait and see.

  • um khalil, thank you and welcome to my blog.

    thank you everyone for your comments, as Iman said, I guess we will all have to wait till tomorrow. I’ll probably write another post on this issue fairly soon.

  • Thanks Nas for the good read…

    i felt like vomiting after reading many of the entries & comments made by most of the Jordanian bloggers who chose to write about the elections, the exhibiting of bigotry and typicalism was surpassed only by political ignorance and blatantly predefined set of expectations!

  • With all the talks about we are outsiders, where can I find some good palestinian blogs?
    It would be interesting to read their take on the events…

  • Its the best solution of the worst. I mean the corruption of fateh is nosiating, and it had to come to an end. It had the chance to do some actions for the past years but never made any point to. I guess this will definately be a new era for Palestine, some real changes will be made, not all positive that would be too optimistic, but I believe things that should have been changed since ages.

    Thanks Nas for the post, gr8 analysis, comme toujours 🙂

  • I think your comments are right on and I wish more people could see it this way. I went to an event yesterday to talk about local issues in my city, but the facilitator wanted to talk about global issues and then bring back to the local issues…he decided to talk about the recent victory of Hamas…someone in the crowd said that Hamas is to Israel what Al Qaida is to the US. My heart started to beat out of my chest and I immediately raised my hand. I was so put off by that comment. I tried to say in my most diplomatic way that some people believe that the State of Israel is the terrorist threat to the Palestinians and I think I used her terms and said “Israel is to Palestine what Al Qaida is to the US”. It didn’t come out very diplomatically.

  • Naseem,
    Great commentary on the recent wins by Hamas. I believe the recent win exhibits the Arabic quote â??survival is for the best”. Foe the past ten years, combined failures of Fateh and Israel/Americans have yielded the partial collapse of Fateh. In the same token, Hamas has been scoring high marks in serving the Palestinian people. True they made many mistakes but I must give them credit for realizing their mistakes and correcting them. Few examples of that are their strict engagement in the cease-fire and their participation in the legislative elections. Now that the party is over, they need to face new realities. To name a few, is the formation of the government (Technocrats is the best option), dealing with international community, financing the PA, cease fire with Israel, self cleansing, dealing with the internal police bodies (nominated by Fateh).
    Let us give Hamas a chance as at least they come to power with clean hands.

  • I for one am thoroughly delighted at the elction result. Not because I either support ot oppose Hamas, but because now we can start to consider the Palestinians as adults in charge of their own decisions.

    But what the Pals must understand is that with rights come responsibilities, and with decisions come consequences. So, from now on, the world will no longer listen to any excuses. Remember, you are an experiment and a beacon to the whole infantile and ill Muslim world.

    Please do not blow this chance we have given you. The sad thing is, of course, that while we are still basically funding and supporting you, you are still children.

    Please do not forget that my pay-check is helping you in this experiment.

    But I wish you well!

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