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Terrorists take 40% of the vote in Palestinian elections

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by bigtexxx, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. bigtexxx

    bigtexxx Contributing Member

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    :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

    [​IMG]

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,182709,00.html

    Dramatic Showing for Hamas in Palestinian Elections
    Wednesday, January 25, 2006

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Exit polls indicated Wednesday night that the secular ruling Fatah Party would retain control of the 132-seat Palestinian Legislative Council, but that power would be shared for the first time with members of Hamas, the Islamist terrorist group.

    Fatah took 46.4 percent of the vote, or 63 seats, in the first Palestinian parliamentary elections in a decade, while Hamas took 39.5 percent, or 58 seats, according to a Bir Zeit University exit poll.

    The numbers seemed to indicate voters were frustrated with one-party rule under Fatah, which has been beset with corruption and a shattered economy. An earlier exit poll found Fatah leading Hamas 42 to 34 percent, and another said the results were 43-32 in favor of Fatah.

    Hamas had run on an anti-corruption campaign, calling its party Reform and Change.

    "We've reached the worst. The most important thing now is change," said Raed Abu Hamam, 35, a construction worker in Gaza's Beach camp who said he has lost faith in Fatah.

    Smaller parties received 11 seats, according to the poll of 8,000 voters in 232 polling stations. The poll had a one-seat margin of error.

    Preliminary results were expected late Wednesday or early Thursday. Complete results were expected by late Thursday.

    The results forecast a stunning transformation in Palestinian politics and spell trouble for peace negotiations with Israel, itself dealing with potentially groundshaking changes as its leader, Ariel Sharon, lies in a coma after suffering a massive stroke exactly three weeks ago.

    President Bush said Washington would stick to its policy of not negotiating with terrorists until Hamas renounces its charter calling for the destruction of Israel.

    "A political party, in order to be viable, is one that professes peace, in my judgment, in order that it will keep the peace," Bush told the Wall Streeet Journal.

    "And so you're getting a sense of how I'm going to deal with Hamas if they end up in positions of responsibility. And the answer is: not until you renounce your desire to destroy Israel will we deal with you."

    Israel also said it would not deal with Hamas until it disarms. Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said that if a solution to the conflict cannot be reached through peace talks, then Israel will take more unilateral steps like its Gaza withdrawal.

    "Anyone who participates in this government must renounce terrorism, must abandon the path of terrorism, must abandon incitement and the culture of hatred [and] must disarm the terrorist groups," Israeli government spokesman Raanan Gissin said.

    Fatah is by no means free of terrorism, either; its radical wing, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, has also carried out deadly attacks against Israeli civilians.

    Preliminary results indicate Hamas members will have a role in the ruling coalition due to alliances with independents. Hamas leaders said they would not comment until official results are announced.

    Thousands of Palestinians turned out earlier in the day to decide whether to vote for Fatah, which has controlled their government for a dozen years, or give Hamas a chance to rule for the first time.

    Voter turnout was 77.7 percent of 1.3 million eligible voters, the Central Election Commission said. In the 1996 parliamentary election, turnout was about 75 percent. In the 1996 parliamentary election, turnout was about 75 percent.

    In Gaza City, Fatah loyalists fired rifles out of car windows, sounded their horns and waved the yellow flag of their movement as they drove around the streets after getting word of the exit polls.

    "Even though this is not the official result, we have to celebrate," said 22-year-old Omar Abdel Al Raouf, waving an assault rifle from his car window. "The winner is the Palestinian people."

    "Whoever is the winner, it's a great victory for the Palestinians in general because partnership starts from this minute," said Samer Lulu, 29, a merchant who voted in Gaza City.

    While not pleased with Hamas' emergence as a political power in the region, the White House called the vote "a historic and significant day for the Palestinian people."

    Polls closed on Wednesday after 12 hours of voting at 7 p.m. (12 p.m. EST). Under a compromise with Israel, some Arabs in east Jerusalem were allowed to cast absentee ballots at post offices in the disputed city, and voting was extended there by two hours because postal workers were slow.

    Fatah supporters across Gaza and the West Bank spent Wednesday evening honking car horns, shooting in the air and setting off fireworks in celebration.

    Election officials began counting the votes soon after polls closed. Routine power cuts in the Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis forced election workers to count ballots by candlelight.

    Wednesday's results could tip the balance of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Cabinet. Also head of the Fatah Party, Abbas resisted pressure to postpone the vote when it became clear Hamas was a real political threat.

    Many Fatah voters said they were grudgingly supporting the party out of old loyalties.

    "The Palestinian Authority did nothing for us. People here have no jobs, while people in the PA got millions of dollars," said Ali Taha, 35, a laborer in the Amari refugee camp in Ramallah, who voted for Fatah anyway.

    Hamas has executed numerous terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and counts tens of thousands of Palestinian supporters and sympathizers. The group was participating in elections for the first time, presenting new challenges for Fatah, which was founded by iconic Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and has long enjoyed a political monopoly in the region.

    For the sake of Palestinians, who long to achieve statehood, Hamas will have to transform itself from a band of lawbreakers to a party of lawmakers, one leader said.

    "They will start seeing things from a different perspective, and that will then advise them to take different positions and make different policies in order for them to take their responsibility seriously," Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser al-Kidwa told FOX News.

    Both parties have said they would consider a coalition if no clear victor emerges. Abbas also has vowed to continue peace negotiations with Israel no matter the outcome of Wednesday's vote.

    "We are coming into a new phase. In this phase, we are calling for the international community to help us return to the negotiating table with the Israelis, conclude the peace process and implement it," Abbas said after the voting ended.

    Thirty-one prisoners, include Marwhan Barghouti, a Fatah leader serving five life sentences for his role in the murders of Israelis, are among the candidates for the 132 open seats. None have been permitted to campaign or vote, all are housed in Israeli prisons, but they are expected to do well in the polls.

    Activists from both parties were out in full force, handing out lists of candidates' names, baseball hats and scarves. But the Hamas effort appeared more organized than Fatah's.

    "These elections will determine the fate of the Palestinian people," said Mohammed Shaabein, a 71-year-old retiree in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya.

    Fatah, tainted by corruption after 12 years in power, was asking voters for another chance to pursue an elusive peace deal with Israel. Hamas has focused on clean government, and criticized Fatah's attempt at compromise with Israel as a sign of weakness.

    The Beach refugee camp near Gaza City was decorated in a sea of flags — green for Hamas, yellow for Fatah — and the excitement in the air was palpable.

    Outside a polling station at a boys' school in the camp, Fatah supporters wore the party's black-and-white checkered scarves decorated with Palestinian flags.

    Hamas activists sported green baseball hats, and many of the Hamas women wore full veils and gloves, once a rare sight in Gaza and a sign of the growing influence of fundamentalist Islam in the impoverished coastal strip.

    "We've reached the worst. The most important thing now is change," said Raed Abu Hamam, a 35-year-old construction worker in the Beach camp who said he is voting for Hamas.

    Polling places were mostly calm amid increased security, and voters exited brandishing inked-stained fingers meant to prevent fraud but that have also come to symbolize democratic gains in the Middle East.

    Some 13,500 police officers deployed at 1,008 polling stations, taking up positions on rooftops and at entrances to enforce a weapons ban. In the West Bank's Balata refugee camp, militants who had threatened to burn down polling stations checked their assault rifles at the door with a flourish and peacefully voted.

    However, police in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis fired into the air to push back a crowd of impatient voters and a phalanx of Israeli police prevented hard-line Israeli lawmakers and extremists from forcing their way into a polling station in east Jerusalem.

    "I think that Palestinians should be hailed for the democracy they exercised which is unprecedented in the Arab world, and tomorrow will be a new day for Palestinian political life," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said.

    Nearly 20,000 local observers and 950 international monitors, led by former President Jimmy Carter, watched the vote.

    "Both the Palestinian elections in the past have been very good. They have been honest, fair and free of violence and I hope and believe we will have the same thing today," said Carter, who monitored voting in disputed east Jerusalem.

    Francis Wurtz, an observer from the European Parliament, said he had witnessed no irregularities.

    "The organization is very correct everywhere," he said.

    There were some allegations of fraud in the 1996 parliamentary election and the 2005 presidential election that brought Abbas to power, but international monitors said at the time the problems were not widespread.

    Hamas' success has alarmed Israel and the West, although Abbas has argued that bringing them into the system will tame them, enabling peace moves to go forward. In an apparent sign of pragmatism, Hamas has not carried out a suicide attack since a cease-fire was declared a year ago.

    Abbas, who voted in Ramallah, said elections were proceeding smoothly but complained of Israeli travel restrictions on roads. Israel said it was easing checkpoints on voting day.

    "We are so happy with this election festival," Abbas said, after dipping his index finger in ink to prevent double voting.

    Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri, seeking a seat in Beit Lahiya, said he expects the group to win the biggest bloc in parliament.

    Even then, Hamas has said it doesn't want to rule alone. "We did not come to replace anyone or squeeze out anyone. We came to start a new phase in political partnership and unity," al-Masri said.

    Under Palestinian law, the largest party would be asked to form a government.

    Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia said Fatah is ready to "stand behind" Hamas if the Islamic movement wins.

    The election marked the first time Palestinians have a clear choice between two political camps since Hamas boycotted the 1996 vote.

    Abbas, elected a year ago, will still head the Palestinian Authority regardless of Wednesday's results, but Israel says it will not deal with Hamas until it disarms, no matter the vote outcome.

    Hamas' top parliamentary candidate, Ismail Haniyeh, said the group had no intention of laying down its arms after the elections as Abbas has said he expects. And another prominent candidate, Mahmoud Zahar, said his group is "not going to change a single word" in its covenant calling for Israel's destruction.

    The Bush administration lists Hamas as a terrorist organization and also refuses to deal directly with it. But State Department spokesman Sean McCormack on Tuesday would not rule out negotiations with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas ministers.

    Hamas is expected to ask for service ministries — health, education and welfare — and to leave diplomacy, including contacts with Israel, to others. Hamas, which has long ruled out negotiations with Israel, has signaled some flexibility on the issue in recent days.

    If forced to form a coalition, Fatah said it prefers to govern with smaller parties and would invite Hamas only if left with no other choice.
     
  2. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Contributing Member

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    A democracy is a democracy. We're encouraging this stuff.

    Hopefully that trend will moderate Hamas like how political recognition splintered the IRA....
     
  3. wnes

    wnes Contributing Member

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    It would be much easier for US if 100% voted for terrorists. One A-bomb will get the job done.
     
  4. nyquil82

    nyquil82 Contributing Member

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    What a surprise, we vote for a war president, they vote for a war party. Back and forth until we're all dead. Way to learn absolutely nothing from Jesus Christ.

    "A political party, in order to be viable, is one that professes peace, in my judgment, in order that it will keep the peace," Bush told the Wall Streeet Journal.

    Does not compute.
     
  5. geeimsobored

    geeimsobored Contributing Member

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    This almost seems inevitable. Fatah has just rotted and fallen apart because of the inherent corruption and mismanagement. Abbas is a good guy with great intentions but unfortunately the party has failed to adopt those. (Hell at a talk I was at with Sharon's foreign minister, he went on and on about how Abbas was amazing and the key to any sort of breakthrough but I guess that's not enough)

    The only alternative was Hamas. Hamas didn't really win this election. Instead, Fatah lost it with years of mismanagement and corruption. We'll see what Hamas decides to do or how they steer the Palestinian authority. It may cause a moderation of Hamas or it may very well end any chance of a cooperative peace agreement. Either way, we may be seeing the last remnants of Arafat's movement disappear and the beginning of something that could be better or much much worse.
     
  6. KingCheetah

    KingCheetah Contributing Member

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    I like hamas on those little pieces of toasted bread.
     
  7. tigermission1

    tigermission1 Contributing Member

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    They're the only viable alternative to the overtly corrupt Fatah...I honestly am surprised they didn't receive more of the votes.

    Still, 40% means the majority of the people are willing to stick with Fatah.

    BTW, bigtexxx, hate to break it to you, but the people in Gaza and the West Bank whom have lived under Israeli occupation for decades tend to view Hamas and other militants as resistance fighters and heroes, their methods don't matter much to many of them.

    So roll your eyes all you want, not everyone agrees they're 'bad guys', to the Palestinians they're the only form of resistence they've ever known.
     
  8. bigtexxx

    bigtexxx Contributing Member

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    Sadly I believe you're correct. Remember, these are the same folks who were out hamming it up and celebrating in the streets after 9/11.
     
  9. tigermission1

    tigermission1 Contributing Member

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    Those were at best tens of people, hardly a crowd. On the other hand, thousands of Iranians protested against those attacks on the streets of Tehran and elsewhere. It was mixed emotions, that's probably all one can say.

    However, I won't pretend I read minds, probably more than a few people around the world felt some type of 'justice' took place on that day, sad as it may be.

    "One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter" is not a cliche, it really does apply in real life and often times depends entirely on whose side you're on. That's just the way the world has always been, people are often blind to what the other side sees and how they perceive reality.
     
  10. insane man

    insane man Member

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    perhaps the US could do more than just give $2 million to fatah. i mean we did say we wouldn't have anything to do with the PA if hamas won. and than backtracked and said we wouldn't deal with those specific ministers...

    we can't even mess up elections.
     
  11. StupidMoniker

    StupidMoniker I lost a bet

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    How sad is it that the top 2 choices of the Palestinians were terrorist orginizations. That would be like the top vote getters in the next election in the US being the KKK and one of those crazy militia groups. The majority of Palestinians are innocent, peace-loving farmers though. :rolleyes:
     
  12. geeimsobored

    geeimsobored Contributing Member

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    you answer your own sarcastic comment yourself. There were two crummy choices. A corrupt, money-laundering fatah movement or a militant hamas. Most Palestinians probably are only concerned with getting food on the table and getting enough to survive and could care less about much else. But when you have two awful choices on the table and one has done a consistently terrible job for the history of the Palestinian Authority, then for many the only option is change even if that could spell radical change.
     
  13. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Contributing Member
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    There were English people who were (and still are) pi$$ed that the British government was working with Sin Fein. That seems to have worked out as well as could be expected.

    Perhaps we should wait and see how Hamas acts once in power.
     
  14. StupidMoniker

    StupidMoniker I lost a bet

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    There were other options available, though I don't pretend to know enough about Palestinian politics to say that they were better options.
    The point is, no one made them vote for these terrorists, it just turns out that terrorist organizations were the 2 most popular parties in Palestine. We have wacko parties here in America, but they aren't generally voted into power.
     
  15. Cohen

    Cohen Contributing Member

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    Although I find it appalling, it is not unexpected. And it's not just because they're viewed as heroes...a lot of money flows through the terrorist orgs to the Palestinians living in harsh conditions.
     
  16. Cohen

    Cohen Contributing Member

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    Is that really necessary? It's disgusting.
     
  17. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

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    If we're all going to roost atop moral high horses, consider that the body count for the Bush Administration, that the US and a minority/majority of its citizens put in power, over the last five years is likely far, far higher than that of hamas.

    This is not to excuse or support anything that the murderers in Hamas have done . . . but one man's terrorist is the only bleak form of hope that another man has ever known.
     
  18. StupidMoniker

    StupidMoniker I lost a bet

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    What is the body count of innocent people targeted by the Bush administration? Oh yeah, we have a real government that doesn't send young people out with bombs strapped to their chest to blow up discos. Comparing the US to Palestine is a joke. Moral relativism rears its ugly head once again.
     
  19. GladiatoRowdy

    GladiatoRowdy Contributing Member

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    An innocent life is an innocent life. Targeted or not, the US has killed tens of thousands of innocents in Iraq alone as a result of exaggerated "intelligence" that many in the world see as flat out lies by this administration.

    Moral relativism indeed.
     
  20. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member
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    Well certainly the wedding parties that were killed by this administration were targeted. They were mistakenly targeted. It isn't unbelievable to to assume that the reporter the U.S. killed on their THIRD "accidnetal" strike against Al Jazeera was intentional.

    Then there were the people in Afghanistan who were captured and tortured to death. They were certainly targeted and one was an innocent cab driver.
     

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