Wednesday, February 1, 2006

On Palestine, Part 3

Palestinians want Hamas reform - poll
Nearly three-quarters of Palestinians want the newly elected Hamas movement to drop its call for the destruction of Israel.

This came in an opinion poll released by the Ram Allah-based Near East Consulting Institute on Monday.

The survey also found that 84% of those surveyed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip want a peace agreement with Israel while 86% want Mahmoud Abbas, the moderate Palestinian Authority president, to remain in his post.
Well now, isn't this clear evidence that Palestinians did NOT vote for terror, as I am still seeing on wingnut websites?

All political ribbing aside, the poll is good news on several fronts. First of all, it provides rational politicians with concrete evidence that Palestinians voted for Hamas as a protest vote, which may help them in their decisions on whether or not to withdraw aid. Secondly, it will serve as a pressure force against Hamas to moderate. Democracy in Palestine does not operate in a vacuum. The social structure is there, as there are civil society institutions to advocate policy and to serve as watchdogs on the government. Additionally, Hamas isn't the only militant game in town. They do have to listen to their constituents, lest a factional war break out in the Palestinian territories, unlikely but possible if extremism tries to rule. Thirdly, it lends legitimacy to the Hamas government, which is vital to the stability of the political system, and it also gives reason for Abbas to stay in power, which is good for the peace process.

Like I said before, the vote was not a vote for Hamas, but one against Fatah. The proof is in the numbers.

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