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Hamas Wins Key Local Palestinian Elections

Old 12-16-05, 03:20 PM
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Hamas Wins Key Local Palestinian Elections

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By ALI DARAGHMEH, Associated Press Writer
2 hours, 57 minutes ago

NABLUS, West Bank - Hamas supporters on Friday celebrated a landslide election victory in major West Bank towns, the strongest sign yet of the Islamic militant group's growing political appeal ahead of Jan. 25 parliamentary elections.

Israel responded with concern, saying a Palestinian government dominated by Hamas — which calls for Israel's destruction and has killed hundreds of Israelis in attacks — would not be a partner for peace.

The results stunned officials from Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Party, whose internal disarray developed into a split this week when a group of young-guard leaders broke away.

Thousands of Hamas supporters joined victory marches after Friday prayers. In Jenin, where Hamas won a majority of local council seats, marchers chanted, "To Jerusalem we march, martyrs by the millions!" and held up copies of the Quran.

"We didn't think for a moment that Hamas would win so many votes," said Issam Abu Baker, Fatah's chief in the Nablus region. "The earth shook under our feet, and this will have an effect on the parliament."


Hamas' welfare programs — coupled with its fierce resistance to Israel's occupation — have won it grass-roots support among Palestinians fed up with Fatah's corruption and inability to rein in lawlessness.

"We didn't expect we would get that many votes," said Adli Yaish, a local businessman who headed the Hamas list in Nablus and is expected to be the new mayor. "The Palestinian people want change."

Victory for Hamas in the parliamentary election could torpedo efforts to renew long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and could damage the Palestinian relationship with the United States. Hamas — responsible for dozens of suicide bombings — is on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations.

"If the Hamas was ever to become a dominant force in Palestinian politics, that would be the end of the peace process," Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said.

Yasser Mansour, Hamas' spokesman for the northern West Bank, said the group was willing to talk to Israel, at least about local issues.

"We are open to Europe and the Arab world, and we have no problem sitting with the Israelis to discuss municipal affairs," he said.

However, some Palestinians said they were wary of putting the Islamic group in charge of the Palestinian Authority.

Hassan Mubarakeh, a 33-year-old vendor in Nablus, said he voted for Hamas in the local election "because I believe it has clean hands and can do something in Nablus."

However, he ruled out voting for Hamas for parliament "because they mix religion with politics," he said.

Also Friday, Palestinian militants fired on an Israeli car near the West Bank city of Hebron, killing a resident of a local Jewish settlement. Militant groups linked to Fatah and Islamic Jihad claimed joint responsibility

Israel said the Palestinian Authority is not doing enough to stop extremists and linked the attack to the elections.

"It is totally unacceptable and intolerable that when they have elections in the Palestinian Authority, we will have to pay the price in casualties because of the competition between various groups," said Raanan Gissin, adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

The Israeli military late Thursday imposed a closure barring all Palestinians from entering Israel after troops discovered and detonated a car bomb near the West Bank town of Bethlehem.

Meanwhile, Abbas' last-minute attempt to unify his ranks failed when a group of popular younger leaders formed a new party Thursday called "Future," led by jailed uprising leader Marwan Barghouti.

Abbas threatened to resign if Fatah fails to unite, according to participants in a party meeting Thursday. In his earlier days as deputy for the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Abbas walked away in a huff several times, only to return.

Hamas' landslide victory is a direct result of Fatah's internal struggle, said Hani Masri, a Palestinian political commentator for the daily newspaper Al-Ayyam.

"Fatah today is a sinking ship," he said. "Everyone is trying to jump ship and this will open the way for Hamas to win the upcoming election."

In Nablus, Hamas won 73 percent of the vote and 13 seats on the 15-member council. The two remaining seats went to a coalition of Fatah and independent candidates.

In nearby Jenin, Hamas won eight seats, according to unofficial results, while a coalition of Fatah and the radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine garnered seven.

Municipal voting in Hebron, the West Bank's largest town, was postponed until after the legislative elections.

Last edited by VinVega; 12-16-05 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 12-16-05, 03:24 PM
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Crap.
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Old 12-16-05, 03:27 PM
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"To Jerusalem we march, martyrs by the millions!"

So it is written, so shall it be done.
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Old 12-16-05, 03:43 PM
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I guess you can replace the saying "Bread and Circus" with "Bread and Bombs" A sad day for the ME peace process.
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Old 12-16-05, 04:32 PM
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OK, anyone want to try to convince me one more time the vast majority of Palestinians want peace, and all the trouble is caused by a mere handful of Hamas jihad thugs.

73% of vote goes to a terrorist organization. That pretty well says it all. If they cause trouble, nuke the fuckers.
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Old 12-16-05, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDude
OK, anyone want to try to convince me one more time the vast majority of Palestinians want peace, and all the trouble is caused by a mere handful of Hamas jihad thugs.

73% of vote goes to a terrorist organization. That pretty well says it all. If they cause trouble, nuke the fuckers.
Palestinians, first and foremost, want better living conditions. They voted for Hamas because they see Fatah as corrupt and incompetent, not because they are obsessed with pushing Israel into the sea...

Hassan Mubarakeh, a 33-year-old vendor in Nablus, said he voted for Hamas in the local election "because I believe it has clean hands and can do something in Nablus."

However, he ruled out voting for Hamas for parliament "because they mix religion with politics," he said.
Obviously, Palestinians are not just pro-terrorist mindless idiots.

Also, I think that Israel saying they will not negotiate with the Palestinians if Hamas become the main political force is mostly just rhetoric. In reality, they woudn't have much of a choice. Furthermore, and if I'm not mistaken, the truce between Hamas and Israel has now lasted more than a year. There's of course no guarantee, but as Hamas (which isn't a monolithic block by the way) gains more political power, terrorism could eventually take a back seat. See Sinn Fein and their armed branch the IRA. Could take years, not saying it's a given, but it's a possibility. Depends which wing of Hamas gets the upper hand. So while this might sound catastrophic on the surface, there's more to this than meets the eye.
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Old 12-16-05, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by eXcentris
Obviously, Palestinians are not just pro-terrorist mindless idiots.
They just vote that way.
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Old 12-16-05, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDude
OK, anyone want to try to convince me one more time the vast majority of Palestinians want peace, and all the trouble is caused by a mere handful of Hamas jihad thugs.

73% of vote goes to a terrorist organization. That pretty well says it all. If they cause trouble, nuke the fuckers.

73% of what. Not to be the Devil's Anus, but 73% of the entire Palestinian population, or 73% of the people who voted. Big difference. But I still agree to some degree that Palestinians, overall in theory and speak, want Israel wiped off the map.
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Old 12-16-05, 11:18 PM
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However, he ruled out voting for Hamas for parliament "because they mix religion with politics," he said.
Sound like Hamas and a political party I know would get along...
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Old 12-16-05, 11:20 PM
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Yeah, If Clinton, Kerry or Lieberman talk about God one more time, I think I'll puke.
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Old 12-17-05, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by eXcentris
Palestinians, first and foremost, want better living conditions. They voted for Hamas because they see Fatah as corrupt and incompetent, not because they are obsessed with pushing Israel into the sea...
I can't believe people are still trying to spin that.
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Old 12-17-05, 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Myster X
I can't believe people are still trying to spin that.

Apparently you can't make the difference between local elections and parliementary elections... When you have managed to grasp that, please tell how how much sense it makes in local elections that your main concern would be foreign affairs when you live in some of the worst conditions on the planet. This absurd notion that the only thing on the minds of Palestinians is an obsession with driving Israel into the sea is pure nonsense.
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Old 12-17-05, 01:02 AM
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I guess it wouldn't matter what David Duke or Louis Farrakhan promised me if they became mayor, I still wouldn't vote for them.
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Old 12-17-05, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by eXcentris
Palestinians, first and foremost, want better living conditions.
Truly, the terrorists have won.
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Old 12-17-05, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by eXcentris
Apparently you can't make the difference between local elections and parliementary elections... When you have managed to grasp that, please tell how how much sense it makes in local elections that your main concern would be foreign affairs when you live in some of the worst conditions on the planet. This absurd notion that the only thing on the minds of Palestinians is an obsession with driving Israel into the sea is pure nonsense.
Honestly, it would take a Canadian to split that hair.

Hamas is a pack of terrorists and a vote for them is a vote for terroism and driving Israel into the sea. I'm all for driving Hamas and every single person who voted for them into the sea.
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Old 12-17-05, 07:52 AM
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Hamas is made up of many components.

One of the principal components is the military wing. They do some rather bad things. It's legitimate, IMO, to call them terrorists.

I agree with eXcentris when he says that many Palestinians view Fatah as corrupt and incompetent. They're most likely right in that view.

Last edited by classicman2; 12-17-05 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 12-17-05, 08:13 AM
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Yeah, I'm not trying to defend Fatah, they probably are corrupt and incompetent. They need a new party or independent candidates or something.

But a vote for Hamas is a vote for terror, and the world will have zero (or negative) respect for a Hamas-run Palestine. If they renounced terror and turned over all their (unassassinated) terrorists for prosecution and execution, maybe Hamas could be "reinvented," but they'll eat flying pigs before that happens.
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Old 12-17-05, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by eXcentris
Palestinians, first and foremost, want better living conditions. They voted for Hamas because they see Fatah as corrupt and incompetent, not because they are obsessed with pushing Israel into the sea...
Riiiiiiiight.
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Old 12-17-05, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
I guess it wouldn't matter what David Duke or Louis Farrakhan promised me if they became mayor, I still wouldn't vote for them.
I woudn't either but neither of us are Palestinians or live in squalor. Why Palestinians voted for Hamas at this point is perfectly understandable. And it's not necessarily because they wake up every morning going "push Israel into the sea... push Israel into the sea... push Israel into the sea...".
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Old 12-17-05, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by OldDude
Hamas is a pack of terrorists and a vote for them is a vote for terroism and driving Israel into the sea. I'm all for driving Hamas and every single person who voted for them into the sea.
Obviously that's an extremist position, and ironically it's the same type of mindset your condemning.
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Old 12-17-05, 09:26 AM
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So this is the result of decades of Europe, and to some extent the US, courting Arafat and giving him millions of dollars....
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Old 12-17-05, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by eXcentris
Obviously that's an extremist position, and ironically it's the same type of mindset your condemning.
No it isn't. I'm patient. I'm willing to wait until they commit another terrorist act, then kill them all. I'm really sure my patience will be rewarded.

They, on the hand, just pick innocents out of a crowd and kill them for their own pleasure. They are the primary reason the Palestinians don't have a state of their own, and any vote for them is a vote for the status quo of senseless, neverending violence, and no state.
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Old 12-17-05, 10:16 AM
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eXcentris,

Remember - there are folks on this very forum who say that a vote for Democrats is a vote for terrorism.
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Old 12-17-05, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by OldDude
They are the primary reason the Palestinians don't have a state of their own, and any vote for them is a vote for the status quo of senseless, neverending violence, and no state.
I think you're saying that Hamas gaining more political power will automatically mean more terrorism. I disagree. All I'm saying is that it's possible the opposite will occur.

The other irony here is that Hamas is essentially a creation of Israel. Of course, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
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Old 12-17-05, 10:48 AM
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Democracy in action, isn't it? We just don't much like the result.
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