U.S. Policy Seen as Big Loser in Palestinian Vote

(Washington Post) Glenn Kessler - In the Rose Garden on June 24, 2002, President Bush said: "I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror." This week, Palestinians handed a landslide victory in national legislative elections to Hamas, which has claimed responsibility for dozens of suicide bombings and desires the elimination of Israel. Since the U.S. cannot deal with an organization labeled a terrorist organization by the State Department, Hamas's victory is likely to curtail U.S. aid, limit official U.S. contacts with the Palestinian government, and stall efforts to create an independent Palestinian state. Elections in Iran, Iraq, Egypt, and now the Palestinian territories have resulted in the defeat of secular and moderate parties and the rise of Islamic parties hostile to U.S. interests. Despite deep Israeli misgivings, the administration decided Hamas could participate in the elections even though it had not disarmed its militias, in contrast to rules set for elections in Afghanistan and Northern Ireland.

2006-01-30 00:00:00

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