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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. 30, 2006 /30 Teves, 5766

Questions Hamas may not be able to answer

By Walid Phares


Their winning may well be their undoing


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As soon as the Palestinian commission for elections declared Hamas as a winner of the legislative elections in Gaza and the West Bank, a hurricane of questions slammed international media, Governments, politicians, and analysts. Among officials of the Palestinian Authority: what's next? Will Hamas ruin the advances in international recognition? Within Israel: Is the Peace process dead? How can we deal with a Terrorist Government? In the West: Is Democracy a weapon for radicals in the Arab world? And in America: How to deal with Hamas? These and more dramatic questions are the direct result of a political earthquake that seemed to shake off the foundations of the new US policy in the region: People are eager for freedom. But in the Palestinian territories, voters gave Terror a resounding legitimacy: Why, and more importantly, what is to happen?


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Before democracy-critics rush to rapid conclusions, let them be attentive to the complexity of the democratization process. First, elections aren't the only tool to produce democratic societies. They are the institutions that checks and balances — the democratic culture. Voting opportunities within societies that lacked the practice for decades systematically produces a proportional reality to the layers underneath. In short, if the most organized, well disciplined and better financed forces are given the opportunity to show their strength at the first electoral test, and the incumbent government is plagued with corruption, don't expect major surprises. This is the case of Hamas today. Let's review the road to its electoral victory.


Hamas' founders are the heirs of the Muslim Brotherhood, al ikhwan al Muslimeen, launched in the 1920s in Egypt by Hassan al Banna. Its ideology was inspired by Salafism, which also inspired its sister current out of Arabia, Wahabism. So, we're talking about two centuries of doctrinal legacy and 80 years of organizational experience. The Muslim Brotherhood was already active at the inception of the Arab Israeli conflict in 1947. An off shoot of the movement created Harakat al Muqawama al Islamiya (HAMAS, Movement of the Islamic Resistance) in 1987, to lead an active role in the struggle against Israel. It paralleled the surge of other off shoots across the Arab world in the 1980s and 1990s: The NIF of Turabi in Sudan, the GIA and the Salafi Combat group in Algeria, the Gamaa Islamiya in Egypt and later on the Islamic Jihad of both Palestine and Egypt. In the mid 1990s, a mix of the above groups produced al Qaida. However, while the Bin Laden galaxy mutated into an international organization of Jihad, Hamas was a "nationally" based Jihadist movement.


By the late 1980s, Hamas was gradually operating a socio-economic infrastructure financed by Saudi Wahabis. This jumpstart gave the movement an ahead social leap over its competitors, including the PLO. Later in that decade, into the early 1990s, Tehran's Mullahs opened a giant financial account in support of Hamas. The Baath of Assad hosted its headquarters in Damascus. Three regional streams fed the organization with state- sponsored strategic support for more than two decades, allowing Hamas to compete with, and eventually defeat Yassir Arafat's Fatah. The Jihadists of Palestine didn't start from scratch on the material level: Two capitals backed them, powerful circles in Arabia displayed generosity towards them, and out of the West, supporters excelled in fundraisers, taking advantage of Hamas skilled propagandists.


Rejecting the Oslo Peace Process in 1993, Hamas sunk most Palestinian-Israeli agreements with car bombs. While the PLO was signing treaties with the "Jewish enemy," the Jihadi organiation was striking deep behind those "Zionist lines." Hamas focused solely on the "Palestinian arena" making sure not to engage in direct Terror against the US or Europe. In the 1990s, Arafat's men were getting richer and were treated as VIP internationally including by Israel, while Hamas was stealing the "passion of the intifada" from the old Fatah. Its hospitals and schools-turned madrassas served the masses, while the PLO barons stole them. In parallel it took the group extreme violence against the Israelis, mostly civilians, to beat the Palestinian Authority on the "struggle" level. A full circle was established: The schools and services were controlled by Hamas and it produced more supporters; the terror strikes kept the Jihadi flames alive, while the PLO sunk in corruption. It became clear to any seasoned observer, that at the first electoral opportunity, the young, dynamic, economically supported network will displace the old, undecided, and financially corrupt Government. In fact, between the PLO and Hamas, there were no other alternative: The international community turned a blind eye on the third generation of Palestinians. The Europeans and their Arab allies stood by Arafat, and the Tehran-Damascus axis and the Wahabis backed Hamas. Asked to select their legislators, the Palestinians had these two camps to choose from.


The dice has rolled now. Hamas obtained the largest slice of seats in the representative assembly. But by projecting itself that high in the process, it flew higher than the comfortable atmosphere it was used to: the underground. As one of Hamas' leaders said on al Jazeera after the victory was announced: "As we were in the underground we will continue to act above the surface:" Nothing will change, he added. A representative of the ailing Fatah responded: "Everything is going to change for you. We've been there, saw it all." The prophecy of the vanquished camp may well turn true.


In that very revealing al Jazeera forum, the Hamas spokesperson attempted to smooth down the "victory." Facing a number of young activists questioning already the position of the group on the religious scarf and other liberties, he said "we understand the fears of the youth and females on social issues. We're here to say that there will be no imposition of unpopular measures." In the first few hours after Hamas' ascendance, Palestinian future tensions were already at the table.


"Freedom is guaranteed by the Koran," says Hamas using the verse: la ikrah fil deen (no compulsion in religion). But most Palestinians are secular, and the youngest among the latter are modernist. I have seen both, living side by side: But how about Hamas' immediate challenges? There are many scenarios.


Saib Oreikat, Mahmoud Abbas' main negotiator said Fatah will become a "supportive opposition." Other PLO cadres do not want to help Hamas in Government. In Tehran, Ahmedinijad is jubilating: Now he can see "Hamastan" as a basis for his future attacks against Israel. Syria is relieved for this breath of fresh air coming from the south. So is Hezbollah: The Jihadists are up and running in the Eastern Mediterranean, they fantasize. Hamas has brought hope to the axis of Jihad from the Sunni triangle to Beirut's southern suburb. But inside the group's "war room" wise men are advising for moderation in display. They have hard choices to make, much harder than blowing up buses across the green line.


At their first press conference after "victory" Hamas chiefs said "al fawz mina allah" (Allah granted us this victory) signaling that the next steps are going to be inspired by the divine as well. They insisted that the results are a referendum in favor of the "resistance."


They collected 80 seats (60.6% of the votes), or so depending on how to count the allies seats, and hence they can form a Government. But will they? Many scenarios were advanced by the Bir Zeit University scholars: 1) A fully Hamas Government. 2) A national unity cabinet. 3) A Government of technocrats. or 4) Chaos at will.


The near future will tell us.


But Hamas announced its long term agenda: Jerusalem is the capital and the return of all refugees. But they omitted to define the Palestine they want. More important they didn't say a word about Israel: does it or does it not exists? This question will be the hardest to answer by an organization which existence is about the obliteration of the Jewish state. If it doesn't recognize Israel, the world will isolate Hamas. If it does admit the idea, it will loose its raison d'etre.


And while awaiting the "holy spirit" to advise the Jihadi group in this regard, a Hamas controlled Government will have to deal with the following:

  • The Peace Process with Israel: Will it resume it or not?

  • The alliance with Iran, Hezbollah and Syria: will it keep it or not?

  • Religious state in Palestine: will it enforce it or not?


However, the devil is in the details. And the most explosive ones are the security agencies, fully controlled by Fatah's powerful men. It is going to be very difficult to dislodge them. For Hamas can send suicide bombers inside Israel at will. But inside the Palestinian territories, everyone knows everyone and Terror is not the sole exclusivity of Hamas.


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Dr. Walid Phares is a senior fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington and the author of Future Jihad www.futurejihad.com Comment by clicking here.

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© 2006, Dr. Walid Phares