Democracy Must Be Respected, But That Doesn't Make the Terror Group Respectable

(Wall Street Journal) Editorial - * We agree that the results of the Palestinian parliamentary elections must be "respected," in the narrow sense that they reflect the outcome of a lawful democratic process. But just because something is respected does not make it respectable: Recall the diplomatic quarantine the European Union slapped on Austria in 2000 when elections there put the proto-fascist Freedom Party in government. * Neither President Bush nor acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has made any secret of his intention to isolate Hamas and deprive the Palestinian Authority of funds once Hamas assumes the reins of government. Nor is there any shame in doing so: Donors have the right to impose conditions on their beneficiaries, and so far Hamas has rejected international calls that it disarm, forswear terrorism, and accept the legitimacy of the Jewish state. * Palestinians need to understand that the exercise of self-government carries consequences. For too long, the international community has failed to extract a price for the Palestinian recourse to terror. That failure has not brought peace, but far worse it has produced the "Palestine" we have now: destitute, savage against both Israelis and moderate Arabs, and, so far, incapable of managing its internal affairs peacefully and competently. * By refusing to render Hamas respectable, the U.S. and Israel aren't punishing the Palestinians. They're educating them.

2006-02-20 00:00:00

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