Watching Hamas

(New Yorker) Ari Shavit - * Shalom Harari is a former Israeli military intelligence officer who has been following the rise of Hamas for almost a quarter century. While most TV channels were broadcasting scenes of Hamas celebrating its victory, Harari had tuned in to a seemingly tedious military ceremony on Egyptian state television. "Look at the wives of the generals," he said. "Many of them are wearing traditional head scarves. This was not so ten years ago. And this tells you where we are heading. When the women of Egypt's pro-Western military elite are dressed like that, you know that the Hamas victory is not about Palestine. It's about the entire Middle East." * "In Jordan, too, wherever there are free elections - trade unions, student unions, professional guilds - the Islamists have the upper hand. If the Hashemite kings [Hussein and Abdullah] had not played all kinds of tricks, the Islamists would have had a large representation in parliament as well....Today in the Arab world, the choice is clear between democratically elected Islamists and Western-leaning dictators." * "Look at these campaign posters, they are all from recent weeks. Notice the difference: while the Hamas ads are calm and tranquil, with no hint of violence, the Fatah ads are full of guns and grenades and jihad rhetoric. While Hamas projects religious dignity, Fatah goes back to its aggressive revolutionary ethos. There was no real talk of peace." * The impact of the Hamas victory, he said, is not local but regional. "As we speak, there are growing fears not only in Israel but in Jordan, Egypt, and even Syria. The Hamas victory is a Middle East earthquake. Its shock waves will be felt in every town between Casablanca and Baghdad."

2006-01-31 00:00:00

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