Palestinians have failed themselves

A year after Israel removed its settlements from the Gaza Strip, the hopes of Palestinians have long since given way to despair. There’s no secret why; the terrorist organization Hamas won the Palestinian elections early this year.

Since then economic conditions have deteriorated, violence has continued, and Hamas leaders point accusing fingers at Israel, the United States, Europe, the larger international community … everyone but themselves.

A year ago, donors and countries around the world stood ready to help finance reconstruction and economic development in Gaza – the foundation, perhaps, for a Palestinian state.

But the potential funders drew back in disgust when Palestinian voters threw their support to Hamas.

Many Palestinians explained that they backed Hamas to protest corruption in the Palestinian Authority, not to reward and encourage terrorism.

But the election turned Mahmoud Abbas, the moderate Palestinian president, into little more than a figurehead. The voting also torpedoed hopes for constructive talks and economic dealings with Israel.

It’s been a tough lesson in democracy for average Palestinians: Whom you vote for matters.

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  1. Nathan Tabor

    What is wrong w/ Gaza and the West Bank is what is wrong with the Middle East, in microcosm. Crappy regimes, squalid living conditions, and no political rights; status quo preserved by the unholy alliance of reactionary populists (bin Laden, etc) and slimy autocrats. As long as there are no opportunities for a better life, there is zero chance that public opinion in the West Bank will moderate or that they’ll repudiate the terror masters. Right now, our leaders need to be articulating a comprehensive strategy aimed at extending economic development across the Middle East as well as uprooting terror cells–killing the bad guys w/ the military and coopting the masses w/ upward mobility is the way to go. Thus far, only one guy looking at the presidency for ’08 has mentioned both in the same sentence–John Cox, a businessman who also pushes for a return to the principles of limited govt by the Republican party. Maybe it’s time for a fresh face in the halls of power…

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