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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 27, 2006 /27 Teves, 5766

The anatomy of Hamas' victory

By Caroline B. Glick

What the "mainstream media" isn't reporting


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Thursday morning we awoke to a new reality: Hamas is the official leader of the Palestinian Authority and — thanks to the US and Israeli governments — the official representative of Arab Jerusalemites. If before Wednesday's poll Hamas concentrated its efforts on conducting its terror war against Israel and indoctrinating Palestinian society to support jihad, now the terror group will continue with its previous activities as the official, popularly elected government of the Palestinian Authority.


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Hamas's rise to political leadership and the significance of its ascendancy for Israel must be understood on two levels. First, Hamas must be viewed in the local Palestinian context. Second, the jihadist group's political victory must be viewed in the context of regional developments. On the local intra-Palestinian level, Hamas's decision to participate the Palestinian political process is the result of its adoption of PLO's traditional strategy of combining politics with terrorism.


In 1996, Hamas opted not to participate in the Palestinian elections — preferring to suffice with an operational agreement with Yassir Arafat. That decision enabled Hamas to preserve its "purity" as a terrorist organization and social movement rather than "dirtying" itself with questions regarding the management of Palestinian relations with Israel and the rest of the world.


From a local perspective, two events caused Hamas's strategic shift that brought it to run in Wednesday's elections: Arafat's death at the end of 2004 and Israel's withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria last summer. Arafat's death left Fatah without a charismatic, popular leader able to rally Palestinian society behind him and his party. Israel's decision to withdraw from Gaza and northern Samaria without first reaching a peace accord with the Palestinians gave credence to Hamas's view that there is nothing to be gained by recognizing Israel's right to exist, even on the declarative level.


At the same time, local dynamics alone do not explain Hamas's decision to change its strategy and run for office. Regional developments also played a major role. These dynamics were what drove Hamas to believe that if it were to run and win, it would also be able to rule in a manner that suits its long term goal of destroying Israel.


The policies of the Egyptian government and domestic Egyptian political developments constituted Hamas's first regional rationale for believing that if it were to win the elections, it would also be able to rule. Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak's decision to hold official contacts with the Hamas commanders, under the guise of continuous negotiations towards a ceasefire with Israel — contacts which have been ongoing for the past five years — granted Hamas political legitimacy as an independent actor both in the Arab world and in the EU, (which officially sponsors the negotiations). As well, under the cover of the American policy — which defines the conduct of open elections in Arab states, regardless of the identities, ideologies and practices of the competing parties, as the main component of its strategy of democratizing the Arab world — Hamas's sister movement, the Muslim Brotherhood was allowed to participate in Egypt's parliamentary elections last month. The Muslim Brotherhood's success in those elections, and the international legitimacy conferred on those elections, constituted and important component of Hamas's decision to run on Wednesday.


Aside from events in Egypt, Hamas's leaders are deeply influenced by events in Syria and Iran. Today both countries are led by men who have rejected the traditional policies of terror sponsors such as the late Hafez Assad, former Iranian president Muhammad Khatami and Arafat. Unlike Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syria's President Bashar Assad, those men practiced the art of dissimulation. They hid and denied their active support for terrorism and their strategic aim of destroying Israel.


The fact that Ahmadinejad and Assad Jr. are managing to survive even as they daily challenge the West and Israel, demonstrated to Hamas that a Palestinian government under its leadership will be able to survive for the long haul even if it retains its public rejection of Israel's right to exist and enacts policies that openly advance its jihadist, terrorist agenda.


THE FIRST question that Israel must ask itself is how we arrived at our current situation. Only after we understand the forces that enable radical regimes to survive and indeed to prosper, will we be able to move to the question of what we are to do now. The answer to the first question is that the current situation — characterized by the empowerment of radical elements in regional states — has come about and persists because the world powers — the US, Britain, France, Russia and China — have been incompetent in reaching a consensus that the current state of affairs cannot continue. In the case of Iran and Syria, both Ahmadinejad and Assad are betting — and so far justifiably — that the relevant international actors will not be able to muster the collective or individual will to bring them down.


Iran's daily declarative and substantive provocations of the international community in general and of Israel in particular have been met by international bluster backed by policy paralysis. Today there is no agreement — nor the beginning of an agreement — on the need to enact even the mildest of sanctions against Iran despite its resumption of its uranium enrichment activities. Indeed, on Tuesday, British Prime Minister Tony Blair remarked, "There would be a terrible misunderstanding, indeed a terrible miscalculation being made both by the Syrian and Iranian regimes if they thought that we were interested in destabilizing those two countries." In light of statements like Blair's, it is perfectly rational for Assad and Ahmadinejad to believe that they have no reason to change their behavior.


In a panel discussion at the Herzliya Conference Sunday morning on the issue of Iran's nuclear program, Britain's former undersecretary of defense Sir Michael Quinlan asserted that short of a total invasion and occupation of Iran there is no way to destroy Iran's nuclear weapons program. As a result of this assumption, Quinlan explained that when world leaders refer to Iran's program as "unacceptable" it doesn't follow that they intend to take any steps to prevent the "unacceptable" from becoming reality. Indeed, Quinlan offered the view that Iran's acquisition of nuclear capabilities is inevitable and that at the end of the day, only Israeli concessions — land giveaways to the Palestinians and unilateral Israeli nuclear disarmament — can serve to change Iran's behavior.


The Israeli panelists at Herzliya had a suitable answer for Quinlan. Retired generals Yitzhak Ben Yisrael and David Ivry explained that a military strike against Iran's nuclear installations would not be geared towards destroying Iran's nuclear program, but to setting the program back a few years. That is, the Israelis argued that the goal should be to use force in order to neutralize the immediate threat while buying time to enable internal Iranian processes that could lead to the overthrow of the regime to unfold. They further argued that in the meantime, no concessions should be made to Tehran.


Last Thursday's suicide bombing in Tel Aviv occurred the same day that Ahmadinejad met in Damascus with the heads of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP and Ahmed Jibril's PFLP-GC. This fact was yet one more signal to the Israeli government that the policy it is advocating towards Iran should be similarly adopted in the Palestinian arena given the obvious links and the complimentary nature of the two conflicts. But the signal went unheeded.


In her address before the Herzliya Conference on Monday, Foreign Minister Tzippi Livni claimed that Israel's international legitimacy as a Jewish state is dependent on the establishment of a Palestinian state. Livni further argued that in the event that Israel has no Palestinian partner for peace, it must remove itself from Judea and Samaria and so work to establish that Palestinian state at all costs.


In his remarks the next evening, Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made similar remarks when he stated that while Israel will fight terrorism, in the event that the possibility of reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians is blocked, Israel will determine its borders for itself. That is, like Livni, Olmert pledged that Israel will remove itself from Judea and Samaria.


What Olmert and Livni's messages served to communicate to Hamas was that its decision to replace Fatah as the Palestinian political leadership was a wise one. Under the leadership of Kadima, Israel acts towards the Palestinians as the Europeans act towards the Syrians and Iranians. That is, Israel's strategy towards the Palestinians today is to speak harshly while surrendering. Hamas clearly understands the game that Israel is now playing. Looking forward, if Kadima wins the March elections, and continues on its current course, Israel will be severely weakened both internationally — as the legitimacy of the most extreme elements of Palestinian society is widened, and militarily — as Israel transfers control of more territory to forces that actively collaborate with Arab states and Iran towards the destruction of Israel.


All this naturally raises the question of whether Olmert and Livni's strategy is the only possible strategy that Israel can adopt. The answer of course is no.


In their remarks at the Herzliya conference both Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu and former IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon outlined the general contours of an alternative strategy. Interestingly, their strategy is similar to the one that Israel now claims to be advancing towards Iran.


Both Netanyahu and Ya'alon explained that given the current situation, where terrorist forces and ideology reign supreme in Palestinian society, Israel must make no concessions — either diplomatic or territorial — towards the Palestinians. Israel's influence on its enemies, both explained, stems from its ability to deter them from attacking. That deterrence was weakened by Israel's retreat from Gaza and northern Samaria. Israel must now work to regain its deterrent credibility.


Israel's deterrent powers can only be rehabilitated by a stubborn, uncompromising campaign against Palestinian terror infrastructures and chains of command. Such a continuous campaign, both men argued is the only way to make the Palestinians realize that they have nothing to gain by continuing their war against Israel. The Palestinians' internalization of the understanding that pursuing their war against Israel will bring them no advantage is the necessary precondition for any future peace.


All of this leads to a clear conclusion. The failure of Israel's leadership is one of the most significant causes of Hamas's ascension to political power. Just as the persistence of radical regimes in Damascus and Tehran is the result of the inability of the international community to rise to the challenge they manifest to international security, so too, the empowerment of Hamas is the result of the adoption of a strategy by Israel that is based on how we wish the world to be rather than on the way the world actually is.


By the same token, Israel's ability to fashion suitable responses to Hamas's electoral victory is dependent on its citizens' willingness to choose leaders capable of accepting the realities we face and acting accordingly.


Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


JWR contributor Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East Fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post. Comment by clicking here.

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© 2005, Caroline B. Glick