Friday, January 27, 2006

More on Hamas

In the wake of yesterday's sort-of-surprising (although why people are stunned that Palestinians voted against a party that steals huge amounts of international aid, allowing the leaders to live in palaces while the citizens are unemployed) electoral victory for Hamas, I was struck by another idea of why I am fairly confident that this will, ultimately, be good for the peace process.

How does a state react when its citizens are killed by the government of another state? They retaliate. Every state in the world should and would behave the same way. Hamas is no longer a non-state actor. It is now the governing party of the Palestinian quasi-state. Israel is now in a much better place to establish a deterrent relationship by stating that any "act of war" by Hamas will be met in kind. Open war may be a sufficient threat to convince Hamas to restrain itself and being the transformation into a legitimate political actor.

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