Thursday, February 16, 2006

Fatah Knows Best

The New York Times carried an article on Tuesday about the supposed plan to withhold funds from Hamas and ultimately force a reelection. Near the end of the article, we read how Fatah actually could have won the election:
The United States and Fatah believe that the Hamas victory was far less sweeping than the seat total makes it appear, said Khalil Shikaki, a pollster and the director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.

In an interview in Ramallah, Mr. Shikaki said that if Fatah had forced members to withdraw their independent candidacies in constituencies where they split the votes with official Fatah candidates, it might have won the election. Half of the 132 seats were decided by a vote for a party list, and the other half by a separate vote for a local candidate.

Hamas won 44 percent of the popular vote but 56 percent of the seats, while Fatah won 42 percent of the popular vote but only 34 percent of the seats. The reason? "Fatah ran a lousy campaign," Mr. Shikaki said, and Mr. Abbas "did not force enough Fatah independents to pull out."
If only 76 "independent" Fatah candidates had not run, Mr. Shikaki said, Fatah would have won 33 seats and Hamas 33. In the districts, Hamas won an average of only 39 percent of the vote while winning 68 percent of the seats, Mr. Shikaki said.

"Fatah now is obsessed with undoing this election as soon as possible," he said. "Israel and Washington want to do it over too. The Palestinian Authority could collapse in six months."
Apparently there is more to democracy than making promises you cannot keep.
A knowledge of math is helpful too.

Meanwhile, in Congress, the House of Representatives has voted to withhold aid to the PA unless Hamas "revokes" their call for the destruction of Israel.

That seems like good news, but:

1. Has the PA learned their (math) lesson?

2. Will the withholding of funds just put Hamas in a more sympathetic light? After all, Hamas killed their own people in 2 "work accidents" towards the end of last year, tried to blame it on Israel, and no one cared.

3. Will other Moslem countries come forward to make up the US shortfall?

4. If "revoking" their call for the destruction of Israel, refers to changing the Hamas Covenant--which logically would seem necessary--how much more likely is Hamas to do this than Arafat, who never actually made the change? And is the West serious enough about the change to actually insist on it--or will they settle for some vague public announcement that will be meaningless.

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AbbaGav said...

Good questions. I can't answer them all, but I suspect the answer to #1 is that they have not learned their math lesson.

And to #2, I think they will paint themselves as oppressed and deserving of sympathetic moral exemptions regardless of what transpires, so the right decision should be made on its own merits.

I'm curious to see the answer to number 3, because I remember all of the big billion dollar pledges in support of the intifada a few years ago, and all the subsequent Palestinian whining about how they never actually saw any of it. Makes me think we'll see more pledges but little funding, and that's fine with me.

And the idea of "revoking the charter" is so Arafat retro (we've played this game already twice before) that I mostly don't even care. I refuse to pay for the same pile of manure that I've already purchased twice.

Good post.

Daled Amos said...

Little Green Footballs has a post today on Canada taking a position similar to the US and finishes with 2 questions of his own:

1. If Hamas simply says they renounce violence, Arafat-style, is that going to be enough to get the money taps turned back on?

2. And when (notice, I don’t write “if”) they continue to launch terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, will they be held to account?