Will Hamas' victory in the January 2006 Palestinian elections help the peace process?
General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
The Washington Post, in a Jan. 27, 2006 article titled "Hamas Sweeps Palestinian Elections, Complicating Peace Efforts in Mideast," wrote:
"The radical Islamic movement Hamas won a large majority in the new Palestinian parliament, according to official election results announced Thursday, trouncing the governing Fatah party in a contest that could dramatically reshape the Palestinians' relations with Israel and the rest of the world.
In Wednesday's voting, Hamas claimed 76 of the 132 parliamentary seats, giving the party at war with Israel the right to form the next cabinet under the Palestinian Authority's president, Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of Fatah."
The Quartet on the Middle East, comprised of the US Secretary of State, the UN Secretary General, the Russian Foreign Minister, and a representative of the European Union, on Jan. 30, 2006 issued the following statement:
"It is the view of the Quartet that all members of a future Palestinian
government must be committed to nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and
acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the
Roadmap. We urge both parties to respect their existing agreements,
including on movement and access."
Ahmed Ali Aboul Gheit, Egyptian Foreign Minister, in a Feb. 21, 2006 meeting with Condoleezza Rice in Cairo, Egypt stated:
"We should give Hamas time. I'm sure that Hamas will develop, will
evolve. We should not prejudge the issue. We object to whatever
policies on the part of the Israeli Government right now that are
cutting the right of the Palestinians to receive their dues. So it's
only a matter of time on that. We are sure that the Palestinians will
recognize the requirements of the situation as they stand today: the
roadmap; the need for a political peaceful settlement amongst the
Israelis and the Palestinians; they need to see the two states living
side by side in secure and recognized boundaries for both. So these are
issues that the Palestinians and the government of Hamas, when
composed, will have to face such requirements."
M. A. Muqtedar Khan, PhD, MBA, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware, in a Feb. 9, 2006 Daily Times (Pakistan) article, wrote:
"It is common wisdom that a peace deal
acceptable to Likud is acceptable to all in the US and Israel.
Similarly a peace deal acceptable to Hamas will be acceptable to all in
the Arab and Muslim world. Will an organization committed to Israel’s
destruction negotiate? Hamas has always negotiated with EU, the US
[indirectly] and with other Arab interlocutors. The current ceasefire
in place since February is negotiated outcome. While the US, Israel and
Hamas may wish to avoid negotiating openly, given their past rhetoric,
it is always possible to negotiate through proxies. EU and Egypt can
play the role of proxies. Now ironically Israel could have a real
partner for peace since Hamas can deliver what PA could never promise,
an end to the nightmare of suicide bombers."
Ehud Olmert, Israeli Prime Minister, made the following remarks on Feb. 19, 2006 to the Israeli Cabinet:
"It is clear that in light of the Hamas
majority in the PLC [Palestinian Legislative Council] and the
instructions to form a new government that were given to the head of
Hamas, the PA [Palestinian Authority] is - in practice - becoming a
terrorist authority. The State of Israel will not agree to this. Israel
will not compromise with terrorism and will continue to fight it with
full force. However, there is no intention of harming the humanitarian
needs of the Palestinian population. Israel will not hold contacts with
the administration in which Hamas plays any part - small, large, or
Ismail Haniya, the Hamas nominee for Palestinian Prime Minister, on Jan. 22, 2006 was quoted in the Palestinian Authority's Al-Ayyam newspaper:
"Negotiations with Israel are not on the
Hamas agenda, since past negotiations between Israel and the PA have
been unsuccessful. Hamas will not repeat attempts that have [already]
failed. [Moreover,] the stronger side always has an advantage in
George W. Bush, MBA, US President, in a Jan. 26, 2006 press conference, stated:
"I don't see how you can be a partner in peace if you advocate the
destruction of a country as part of your platform. And I know you can't
be a partner in peace if you have a -- if your party has got an armed
wing. The [Palestinian] elections just took place. We will watch very
carefully about the formation of the government. But I will continue to
remind people about what I just said, that if your platform is the
destruction of Israel, it means you're not a partner in peace. And
we're interested in peace."
Mahmud Al-Zahar, MD, leader of the Hamas majority faction in the Palestinian Legislature, said in an Oct. 22, 2005 interview with Aljazeera.net:
"There is no peace with people who killed our people, occupied our lands and destroyed our homes. How can we reach a peace process with them? We can speak about hudna (truce), long-term ceasefire.
Peace depends on the restoration of our usurped rights. That means the restoration of all the lands occupied since 1948. How can we accept Israel as a legal existence while it occupies our land? We can reach a ceasefire with anybody, but peace with Israel is impossible."