Op-Ed: Why the Hamas Victory is a Good Thing
Steven PlautSteven Plaut teaches at the University of Haifa and is author of "The Scout" (available from Gefen Publishing House). More of his writings can be seen on the New Plaut Blog, as well as in numerous electronic and print newspapers.
For months, the media were all in suspense over whether the victors in the "election" would be the Hamas terrorists or the PLO terrorists. As it turned out, Hamas evidently won the "election" by a huge majority.
The first part of the absurdity in the message daily inculcated by the Israeli political elite is that there is any significant difference between the PLO and Hamas. There is not. Both are equally dedicated to unlimited terror and violence, to genocide and the eradication of Israel in any form and in any borders. Both have conducted suicide bombings and in fact, if I am not mistaken, the PLO's terror brigades carried out more such attacks than Hamas did over the past two years. The Kassam rockets are at least as much the initiative of the PLO as they are that of Hamas. The PLO proliferates anti-Semitic propaganda as much as Hamas and is just as allied with the Hizbullah, Syria and Osama Bin-Laden.
But the Israeli establishment has been repeating the empty "we have a peace partner in the PLO" mantra for so many years that they managed to fabricate artificial suspense over the Palestinian "election". If the PLO were to win, then "Palestine" would be ruled by moderates, people with whom Israel could strike a deal, could do business - the pragmatists. Nice Nazis. Israel has been awash in speeches by politicians and mindless bumper stickers proclaiming: "We have a peace partner."
Now, this may strike you as bizarre, but I have been arguing that the best thing that could happen in the Palestinian Authority "election" would be a strong Hamas victory. Let me explain.
A strong Hamas victory is the only thing that stands a chance of forcing Israelis to open their eyes and wake up. As long as the PLO is in charge, the gigantic game of make-pretend continues. When the Hamas is marching about with costumes of suicide bombers and with its swastikas and other paraphernalia, then there can be no delusions about the Nazification of the Palestinians. It is not that the Palestinians would really be any less Nazified with the PLO in charge. It is just that the Abu Mazen-type representatives at the Potemkin negotiations, and the make-pretend respectability of the PLO hoodlum chiefs, allow the politicians and the media to continue acting as if there is a peace process.
The Hamas victory - and I wish it had been stronger - puts the lie to the game of make-pretend. No longer can any intelligent Israeli pretend that there is any way to deal with the Palestinians other than war. The only way to stop the Kassams and suicide bombers is R&D - Re-Occupation and De-Nazification. And with the Hamas in charge, everyone in Israel is forced to acknowledge this.
Well, almost everyone. Haaretz and the far-left have actually been preparing the Israeli public for a Hamas victory in recent months, and they are spreading the new epistle: "We can do business with Hamas."
Leftist after leftist proclaims that the solution is to negotiate with Hamas. After all, Hamas is as "genuine" and "representative" of Palestinians as the PLO, and it even wins "elections". Some Hamas officials are encouraging the trend of self-annihilation in Israel by putting out duplicitous statements about how Hamas acknowledges that Israel exists (as an empirical reality that needs to be corrected, that is). Such statements recall Yasser Arafat's duplicitous words.
So, get ready for new calls to enter into negotiations with Hamas. We can try to persuade them to have a salad bar on the cattle cars transporting Israeli Jews, and perhaps institute recycling and free tuition at the concentration camps Hamas is seeking to build. Israeli professors will soon be wearing their Hamas lapel pins. Hamas poetry will soon be taught to Israeli schoolchildren. Israeli schools will be screening films celebrating the heroism of Palestinian suicide bombers (like the University of Haifa screened Paradise Now this week).
And Second Shoah Now will be the fastest growing movement in Israeli society, holding mass demonstrations for peace in Rabin Square.