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Denied Legitimacy by Vote, Hamas Wins it by Force
by New America Media (reposted)
Friday Jun 15th, 2007 11:35 PM
Friday, June 15, 2007 :New America Media, News Analysis/Commentary, Jamal Dajani

Though Hamas won elections in January 2006, its efforts to govern have been stymied by sanctions, an Israeli siege and Fatah’s attempts to discredit it, according to commentator Jamal Dajani. With Hamas’ recent victory over Fatah in the Gaza Strip, Israel and Washington may now have to do what was once unthinkable: recognize Hamas as a legitimate political party.

NAM contributor Jamal Dajani is a producer and the Director of Middle Eastern Programming at Link TV .

“We are now like a group of wild cats that once were spoiled and dignified but now caged in and starved. On the political level, our leaders look like small players while the big ones are living somewhere else, like Washington, Tel Aviv and Tehran,” wrote Dr. Eyad El Sarraj in an email to friends living in the outside world on the current crisis in the Gaza Strip.

Two years ago, Sarraj invited me to his home in Gaza for tea and sweets. He had just returned from a swim in the Mediterranean.

“The sea is my only escape…of course I can only do that when the Israelis are not shelling us,” he said while drying his hair. At that time I interviewed Sarraj for a documentary I was working on. He spoke to me in detail about the effects of the occupation on the mental health of Palestinian children, an area of expertise that he developed while running the only mental health clinic in the Gaza Strip.

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by Three state solution?
Saturday Jun 16th, 2007 5:03 AM
Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic party, now controls Gaza. The secular Fatah party has been routed. The result will be an Islamic statelet on Israels southern border, dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state. It will exist in legal limbo -- not occupied by Israel but having most of its borders, including its Mediterranean coastline, controlled by Israel.

The exception is its border with Egypt, across which the arms and ammunition that gave Hamas victory have flowed. It was also the route for Fatah�s supplies, coming from the US with Israels blessing. Egypts role is now crucial. Hamas is essentially the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been victimised for years by the Egyptian authorities. Just this week Cairo held elections designed to weaken the Brotherhoods political support -- its voters found their polling stations shut.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas now controls just his truncated territory in the West Bank. His strategy of building a coalition with Hamas has failed. His option of defeating them via his Gaza-based security chief Mohammed Dahlan has been found lacking.

Meanwhile, Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert faces the prospect of a radical insurgent base just an hours drive from Tel Aviv. Kassem rockets will threaten a growing circle of Israeli towns and villages. The Israeli army could re-occupy the whole of the Gaza Strip within a morning, but military success would have little political purpose.

Hamas leader, and currently Palestinian prime minister, Ismail Haniya will rule Gaza as the first quasi-independent Palestinian leader. That will be when the dust settles. In the meantime the brutality of the Gaza fighting is likely to lead to revenge killings. The innocents might try to flee as refugees, perhaps to Egypt, maybe even Israel. Even in the West Bank, Palestinians will be fighting each other as isolated Hamas cells are wiped out. The rest of the world will be able to do little other than watch in horror.

simon Henderson