Hamas May Win Palestinian Election

Polls show that terrorist group Hamas will do quite well in Wednesday’s Palestinian elections–maybe even win it.

The militant Islamic group Hamas is poised to do well in Wednesday’s Palestinian parliamentary elections — maybe even too well for its own liking. Palestinian officials and Hamas candidates say that even if the Islamic group wins, it would rather stay out of the driver’s seat if that means having to talk to Israel and the West. But the boost that the vote is sure to give militants committed to Israel’s destruction is raising the prospect of profound but unpredictable change in Palestinian politics and Mideast peacemaking, leaving Israel, the United States and Europe wondering how to deal with Hamas’ extraordinary rise.

The long-ruling Fatah Party of the late Yasser Arafat had been expected to pull off a narrow victory, but new poll numbers released Friday had Hamas drawing even.

The Palestinians and the rest of the world are asking: Can incorporating Hamas into politics and government tame it, or will that merely elevate radicals who reject peace? Recent comments by senior Hamas members signal it could go either way.

This is the classic problem faced by terrorists: What to do if they actually achieve their goals? Murder and outrage are effective political tactics but not particularly useful as a way of governing.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.