Friday, January 27, 2006

Time For Hamas to Grow Up

In what appeared to be free elections, the Palestinians elected a majority of their legislative seats to Hamas candidates. Yes, Hamas, a terrorist organization whose charter centers around the destruction of the State of Israel. But electing a group of terrorists, while seemingly horrendous, may actually work out well for the Palestinians in the long run.

First, these elections were free. We don't care for the people who were elected, and I can't imagine that we would stoop to dealing with them, especially if they keep up the business about the destruction of Israel. We don't befriend terrorists, and certainly not terrorists who attack our sworn allies. But we must respect it, and allowing things to unfold as they are may bring the Palestinians out of the Dark Ages and into the 21st Century.

And if the Palestinians are to get anywhere with the civilized world, Hamas needs to grow up. They need to provide humane and legitimate government for their people (yes, a terrorist group), and they need to find some way of coexisting with an Israel that now knows where the Palestinian government lives. Previously, Israel, out of an abundance of caution, was very careful about the strikes against Palestinian terror leaders, careful to avoid civilian casualties, as they had to pick out these leaders from among the people. Now, the Palestinian government, and to a very significant degree, the terror leaders, have an address. If they weren't before, they are now officially on the hook for terrorist acts committed by Palestinians, and especially those linked to Hamas. Israel now knows where to hit them.

But if Hamas fails to comport itself as a civilized entity and faces the rebuke of Israel and the rest of the world, the Palestinians will have learned one of the other valuable lessons that people in a democratic society should understand: there are consequences to electing certain kinds of people. It's much like the lesson the Democrats are currently learning by having Howard Dean as their party chairman. If you have a bratty infant leading you who cannot comport himself in a responsible, civil and reasoned manner, you will reap the consequences of it.

Well, now the bad guys have their shot at running the show. Will they rise to the occasion and actually turn the Palestinian State into a peaceful, prosperous and respectable nation, and abandon murder of civilians as a tool of statecraft, or will they just give us more of the same?

If they are to have any success, Hamas needs to behave like adults.

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