It looks as if it was a landslide for the Tiny Minority of Extremists: “Hamas Wins Landslide 76 Seats,” from AP. Note something that Ashrawi says: “The Americans insisted on having the election now.” Indeed, the Americans did, operating out of the widely held fantasy that free elections are a good thing in themselves, and that voters, out of the natural longing for freedom in every human heart, will always reject tyranny and hatred and fanaticism at the ballot box.
Unfortunately, reality is neither that simple nor that comforting. As I argued here several years ago (my section is “No,” starting on page two), as long as the idea that Islamic Sharia is the law of God remains strong in Islamic countries, they will not be interested in exchanging it for laws based on human consensus. And, I might add — and as today’s news shows us — Muslims who believe this will use their vote to choose Sharia when they have the chance. The fact that this is their democratic choice should not be comforting, for it is a choice for the institutionalized oppression of women and religious minorities.
RAMALLAH, West Bank – The Islamic militant Hamas won a landslide victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections, winning 76 seats in the 132-member legislature, election officials said Thursday. The rival Fatah Party, which controlled Palestinian politics for four decades, won 43 seats.
Hamas supporters raised their flag over the Palestinian parliament and rushed into the building amid clashes with Fatah loyalists a day after winning parliamentary elections.
The two camps threw stones at each other, breaking windows in the building, as Fatah supporters briefly tried to lower the green Hamas banners. The crowd of about 3,000 Hamas backers cheered and whistled as activists on the roof of the parliament raised the Hamas banner again….
Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi, who apparently was re-elected on a moderate platform, said the Hamas victory was a dramatic turning point. She said she is concerned the militants will impose their fundamentalist social agenda and lead the Palestinians into international isolation.
She said Fatah’s corruption, Israel’s tough measures and international indifference to the plight of the Palestinians were to blame for Hamas’ strong showing.
Washington miscalculated in pushing for the vote, as part of its pro-democracy campaign in the Arab world, she said. “The Americans insisted on having the election now, so they have to respect the results of the election, as we all do,” she said.
Israel has repeatedly asked Abbas to force Hamas and other militant groups to disarm but Abbas has refused, warning such an act could cause civil war.