Hooray for democracy!

48 Responses to “Hooray for democracy!”

  1. Robin Blume-Kohout Says:

    At times like this, I wonder what it would be like if we had photos from the Boston Tea Party. Or, heck, photos of Patrick Henry almost any time he was drunk.

    I honestly have no idea what political affiliation/faith that speculation implies. It’s not support for Hamas, in case y’all were wondering. But if I didn’t have anything better to do I’d ponder the capacity of a channel that uses post-selection to amplify signals in proportion to their improbability.

    (Translation: humans like to hear surprising things, therefore every medium including The Press and The Blogosphere and Your Friends tends to pass on the most improbable/embarrassing/shocking information. So I’m never sure how shocked to be…)


    P.S. Scott, I’m enjoying the heck out of your blog + supplementary data. The Chris Moore comment nearly made me wet myself.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Find the comment which provides for the greatest measure of irony:

    A. Your headline as a caption for that photo.
    B. The choices provided to the Palestinian voter.
    C. A life that leads Dr. Scott Aaronson to Theoretical Computer Science instead of a job at The Onion.
    D. A, B and C provide for equal measures of irony.

  3. Wolfgang Says:

    The illusion (e.g. in Europe and elsewhere) that a majority of Palestinians wants to live in peace with Israel has come to an end.

    In the long run this may not be such a bad thing.

  4. Scott Says:

    Robin: First Hitler wins an election, then Ahmadinejad, now it’s Hamas. What a zany, low-probability world we live in! And people wonder why computer scientists make worst-case rather than average-case assumptions.

    Anyway, thanks for the compliment, and go change your pants.

  5. secret milkshake Says:

    Those psychos are perceived (by their voters) to have clean hands. Regular rinse with human blood must be pretty effective, then.

  6. Jose IRS Says:

    In Spain, our stupid government thinks that this is an opportunity to pace because now Hamas has to resolve the problems of the citizens and no to do the war against Israel.

    But if people were only interested in cotidians problems have they voted Hamas? If they voted Hamas that means that they want to destroy Israel.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Someone once said “All politics is local.” Not to discount at all the probability that most of the folks who voted for Hamas would like to see Israel gone, but living with a bunch of gonifs (Fatah) as a government has got to get old.

  8. secret milkshake Says:

    The stalinist regime in Czechoslovakia 1948 also started by free election. There was no Soviet occupation at the time. The commies were popular as “war heros” (completely fabricated), they got 40% of the vote, they formed a coalition government and for about a year pretended they were a civilized guys like any other party…

  9. Anonymous Says:

    But if people were only interested in cotidians problems have they voted Hamas?

    Because Hamas delivers food and social programs while Fatah doesn’t. The armed wing of Hamas is a terrorist organization, but their political wing is an effective social force on the ground and this election proves it.

    Ariel Sharon was on the record with a policy of never accepting a Palestinian state, yet he got elected prime minister. Does that mean that every Israeli stands by Ari’s avowed destruction of the Palestinian state? Of course not. People voted for Sharon for more complex reasons than that. Same with Hamas.

  10. Jose IRS Says:

    The difference is that Sharon was not a terrorist

  11. Anonymous Says:

    The difference is that Sharon was not a terrorist

    After the massacres in the refugee camps that is open to debate (recall that he was found to be personally responsible for instigating them and by an official commission from the Israeli government, no less).

  12. Anonymous Says:

    “Ariel Sharon was on the record with a policy of never accepting a Palestinian state, yet he got elected prime minister. Does that mean that every Israeli stands by Ari’s avowed destruction of the Palestinian state?”

    Never accepting != destruction

    IOW, Sharon’s position (since changed) did not necessarily imply ridding the West Bank and Gaza of Palestinians; rather it was that they should not receive recognition as a separate nation. The position advocated by Hamas, Ahmadinejad, etc., necessarily implies ridding the land of Israelis.

    This is not to say Sharon’s former position was correct, as even Sharon eventually admitted. It is merely to say that his former position is not equivalent to that currently advocated by Hamas and others.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Although, in our times, there is a shortage of oil, water, clean air etc, there is in great abundance one stuff. Guess what? It is BS. In our times, BS, is overflowing everywhere in great quantity. The cause? When people start talking about stuff they have no clue and have not spend even a minute thinking about what they are saying. Do your part for the great flow!

  14. Anonymous Says:

    “Sharon was not a terrorist”

    Lets see. Hamas is a terrorist organization because they blow up bus full of people. Sharon is not a terrorist because he demolishes houses in the middle of the night using bulldozers. Never mind the killing of the 20 year old Rachel Corry. Never mind the mental problems inflicted on Palestinian children by the trauma.

    What we really need is a big book defining precisely what constitutes terror and what not.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    This is not to say Sharon’s former position was correct, as even Sharon eventually admitted. It is merely to say that his former position is not equivalent to that currently advocated by Hamas and others.

    It doesn’t have to perfectly equivalent. The overall similarity suffices to show that it is flawed reasoning to conclude from the election of Hamas alone that Palestinians won’t stop until Israel is wiped off the map. People elect governments for many reasons.

    To further illustrate this, a recent poll asked Palestinians to rank their problems from most important and pressing to less important. Lo and behold, local issues far outscored the Israel question.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    [Just for the record: I’m an Israeli Jew. I’m left wing, but far from radical left wing and am a reserve captain].
    1)I don’t think the Hamas being ellected means all Palestinians want all Israelis dead. I’m not saying all of them would mind, but most would probably prefer a peacful solution to the conflict than it continuing. Essentially I guess most Palastinians would love to push a button and have the “Israeli problem” disappear without anyone dying (and that most Israelis feel the same about Palastinians).
    2)One of the interesting things seen in comments on the past two posts is posters’ inability to tell the difference between people not being pacifists and between people condoning genocide. Sharon’s policies in the teritories, not to mention his policies leading to the current situation in the teritories are reprehensible and violent. However, a policy of destroying houses freely for different reasons (“a suicide bomber lived in them”, “a shot was fired from them”, or even “it will make it safer for our soldiers to fight terrorists like this, and I don’t care who it hurts”) is not the same as a policy of “kill as many Israeli jews as possible”. Living reasonably protected lives allows us to adopt a rather high moral ground, which is good. It means people in Europe and the states can think that “hurting an innocent civilian is never OK under any circumstance”. It isn’t, but when people are at war they don’t tend to think that way. Living in Tel Aviv, being able to go to work (or school) every day allows me to consider the options the other side has and doesn’t have, and to vote and demonstrate for a peacful solution. Some of the people in refugee camps aren’t able to take my side even partially, because their lives are simply too miserable, and they just want to kill me.
    A good thing about the Hamas being ellected, as jose irs stated, is the fact that government tends to lead to a measure of pragmatism. Not always, but often. Likud, an Israeli right wing party, led the withdrawal from Gaza Strip (and years earlier the peace process that led to the withdrawal from the Sinai desert). Meretz, the left wing party I support, sat in governments that performed questionably in their treatment of human rights in the teritories. Being in charge tends to make you a pragmatist. Let’s just hope that what happens next.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Just so there are no misunderstandings about what I previously said, the Hamas isn’t the nicest of movements. A few quotes from their covenant (see: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Hamas_Covenant):

    “Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.” (Article 13)

    “You may speak as much as you want about regional and world wars. They were behind World War I, when they were able to destroy the Islamic Caliphate, making financial gains and controlling resources. They obtained the Balfour Declaration, formed the League of Nations through which they could rule the world. They were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state. It was they who instigated the replacement of the League of Nations with the United Nations and the Security Council to enable them to rule the world through them. There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it.” (Article 22)

    “The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.” (Artricle 32)

  18. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    The Jews were behind World War I and World War II. Gee.

    There is nothing like Holocaust revisionism to put politics into clear focus.

  19. aram harrow Says:

    Fatah leaders were notoriously corrupt, stealing millions while unemployment under the PA was 60-70% and child malnutrition was around 20%. Meanwhile, it’s hard to argue that their “soft-line” was going anywhere: Israel besieged Arafat, refused to negotiate with him, regularly blew up PA police stations and other gov’t buildings, continued settlement building, and their ultimate withdrawal from Gaza was done w/o any cooperation with the PA.

    Hamas leaders live in small houses and have a strong reputation for being incorruptible. They’ve been effective at providing social services even w/o being in power, and when they call for a cease-fire, it actually works. (quote from International Crisis Group.)
    Nationally, too, signs of pragmatism can be detected. Far more than Fatah, Hamas has proved a disciplined adherent to the ceasefire, and Israeli military officers readily credit this for the sharp decline in violence. In recent statements, Hamas leaders have not ruled out changing their movement’s charter, negotiating with Israel, or accepting a long-term truce on the basis of an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines. Today, their electoral platform is in these respects closer to Fatah’s outlook than to Hamas’s founding principles.
    If I were a secular Palestinian, I could easily imagine voting for them.

    Finally, Hamas has offered to extend their cease-fire if Israel does too, and (contrary what Wolfgang said), most Palestinians want peace with Israel (from Newsweek).
    Three quarters of all Palestinians, including more than 60 percent of Hamas supporters, are willing to support reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis based on a two-state solution. During the last 10 years, the trend among the Palestinians has been to move away from hard-line attitudes and to embrace moderate ones. Indeed, more than 60 percent of Hamas voters support an immediate return to negotiations with Israel.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Aram’s right about the corruption, of course. I hope he’s right about the chance for peace 🙂

  21. Wolfgang Says:


    > and (contrary what Wolfgang said),
    > most Palestinians want peace with
    > Israel (from Newsweek).

    I guess it depends on how one phrases the question and whether one is asked directly or casts an anonymous vote.

    Obviously, a significant majority of Palestinians just elected Hamas, knowing very well that it aims for the desctruction of Israel and that peace is not exactly their agenda.

    I am sure that many Austrians or Germans who were in the Nazi party or perhaps SS would tell you that they are and always were peace loving people.

    It is interesting to draw the parallels between Germany in 1933 and the Palestinians now. In both cases the economy was supposedly an important factor for the election result.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    knowing very well that it aims for the desctruction of Israel and that peace is not exactly [Hamas’] agenda.

    Funny you said that. Just today Hamas announced that it would accept peace with Israel if it withdraws to its pre-1967 borders. There are many in Israel who would agree to that (with a few mutually agreed-to land swaps) if peace was indeed assured.

  23. Wolfgang Says:

    Did they also announce that there wold be even more peace if they remove Israel completely from the map?

  24. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    Aram Harrow: Meanwhile, it’s hard to argue that [Fatah’s] “soft-line” was going anywhere…

    It is true that Fatah was not that great at negotiating with Israel. But can we take the following “hard line” from the Hamas charter as a negotiating stance, or is there another interpretation?

    The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!

    Anonymous 6:24: Just today Hamas announced that it would accept peace with Israel if it withdraws to its pre-1967 borders.

    I think that what they actually called it is a long-term truce. That is only consistent with the direct command in the Hamas charter that Muslims should kill Jews.

    I also see in the charter that Hamas can never make peace with the Lions Club.

  25. Anonymous Says:

    I’m also an Israeli Jew, and not one of Hamas’s greatest supporters, but the situation (as always) is more complicated than it seems, and comparisons to Hitler (or even Ahmadinejad) are completely invalid.

    First, Hamas, even in its long-term goal, has never called for the killing of all Israeli jews. I believe they were always perfectly content to have jews as a second-class citizens with economic but no political rights, as they are in Iran (and as arabs have been in the occupied territories since 1967). That is, they do aim for the political destruction of Israel, and probably a lot of killing in the process, but not for killing all jews.

    However, even these goals are more rhetorics than anything else. The charter is unrealistic pipe dreams and outlet to frustrations, similar to the fantasy strict anti-gentile measures (you should never rescue a drowning gentile) that Jews passed when they were completely controlled by gentiles.

    I believe Hamas is a little scared of its own success, just as it was in 1996 where it had a somewhat too successful sequence of sucide bombings, which led to Israeli retaliation and it losing popularity among Palestinians.

    At the end of the day, since Israel is so much stronger militarly, with the wall being built and perhaps other unilateral measures such evacuating a few more isolated settlements, Israel can contain the situation as far it’s concerned. Thus the Palestinan need international recognition and pressue if they are going to make any progress toward a viable state. Hamas become unpopular very fast if it’s seen to make things worse, and thus can’t afford reckless moves and statements such as Ahmadinejad’s.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    As anonymous Israeli Jew says, the situation in the ground is a lot more complicated and nuanced.

    Some hard liners, on the other hand, are grasping for moral justification for their heavy handed tactics. A common way to do this is to do a simplistic reduction of the enenemy’s position. This happens on the Arab side too, and so long as both sides stick to it we have the recipe for long term conflict.

    For it is much easier to kill the zionists who are responsible for WWI and WWII rather than Boris, the nearly secular Rusian Jew who came to Israel looking for a better life and it is entirely not too happy with the treatment of Arabs within the occupied territories. Ditto on the other side, it is easier to bulldoze the house of those Palestinians who “only desire the destruction of Israel” than to kill Mohammad who is tired of Fatah’s corruption and appreciates the fact that the Hamas school his kid goes to is always open, while the Fatah driven University of Palestine that his older kid goes to is always on strike.

  27. Anonymous Says:

    I am a South African and I have a somewhat unrelated question on the double standards of Israel. During the Apatheid times, Israel was one of the few countries that sold arms and military technology to the Apatheid regime. These technologies were used to kill thousands of innocent black people. As a country formed after the Holocaust, Israel should be especially sensitive to selling arms to repressive regimes. However, this is not the case. Almost all the trouble spots in Africa and Asia receives Israeli arms and military advice (for money, of course). My friend from Sri Lanka said during the height of the war, Israeli played a major role in arming both sides of the conflict. Although I strongly feel that Jews people need a country which can protect them, I am dissappointed with Israel’s lack of sensitivity to similar plight by other people.

  28. Anonymous Says:

    This is indeed a rather shameful behavior on the part of Israel. To our defence, until not too long ago, Israeli people and leadership, perhaps with good reason, considered the possibility that Israel would be completely destroyed as not too remote. Under such conditions, they felt that they are not able to be picky in choosing their allies. It’s also important to remember that many countries can be incredibly cold and calculating in diplomacy, and in fact almost every country had ties with very unpleasant regimes because of strategic reasons (for example US w/ Saudi Arabia, France and germany w/ Saddam-controlled Iraq).

    Still, as an Israeli I would hope that we’d try to be better, or at least not one of the worst, when it comes to such matters.

  29. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    It’s not always easy to retain a proper sense of proportion about Israel or Arab-Israeli politics. The Congressional Research Service writes an annual report about world arms sales to developing countries. According to this report, Israel was responsible for about 2.5% of arms sales to the developing world from 1997 to 2004. It is true that that is a high figure per capita for Israel, and therefore a significant moral problem for Israelis. It is not a particularly large fraction of the total. The United States had 34.5% of the total in the same period, while Russia had 21%. Even if Israel completely and permanently stopped selling weapons to other countries, it would make very little difference in the world arms market.

  30. Anonymous Says:

    To Greg Kupferberg:

    Sorry, “the others are way worse than we are” is such a bullshit argument! For almost anything you’ll find someone who does something worse, and oh, we should all focus on that rather than critizise the other thing…


  31. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    Sara: But that’s not my argument. First, I’m not Israeli; Israel is not “we”. I am American. I can acknowledge that the United States leads the world in arms sales to developing countries. I agree that this is a questionable mode of diplomacy.

    I also said that Israelis should indeed ask themselves why they have so much arms sales per capita.

    So my point is a little different. My point is that if you want to criticize Israel, fine, but keep it in proportion. Israel does not play a major role in most of the world’s conflicts, because it’s just too small. Conceivably Sri Lanka is an exception, although I am skeptical. Moreover, the first responsibility in any war lies with the people who buy and use weapons, not the people who sell them.

    I also do not agree that because of the Holocaust, Israel has any extra moral responsibility to make peace. In my view, it has only the same responsibility as other countries. Surviving genocide does not make anyone a better person.

  32. wolfgang Says:

    > Israelis should indeed ask themselves why they have so much arms sales per capita.

    The obvious answer would be that they have to spend much more on arms and defense per capita in general, because they are surrounded by all those peaceful countries and people.

  33. Anonymous Says:

    Wolfgang: if suddenly five people moved into your house uninvited, I doubt you would remain “calm and peaceful”. That is how “the elephant” looks to the Palestinian people.

    To the Israelis, their view of the elephant is different. After being nearly driven to extinction by the Nazi holocaust they are allowed to return to the land whence they came from. They are not invaders, they are merely going home.

    Peace will not be achieved until we can find common ground in both perspectives.

    It is hypocritical to accuse others of not being peaceful when you don’t seek peace yourself, much as Ariel Sharon spent most of his life warring and provocating (last few years excepted) while complaining about the violent response from the PLO.

  34. Anonymous Says:

    Well, God promised the land to his Chosen people. Everone else have to move out and have no right of return. It is as simple as that. Read your bible if you don’t believe me.

  35. Anonymous Says:

    Wolfgang: if suddenly five people moved into your house uninvited, I doubt you would remain “calm and peaceful”. That is how “the elephant” looks to the Palestinian people.

    Fact: many Jews were kicked out of Arab countries and fled to Israel—generally after their posessions and wealth were confiscated. Many more Jews were thus displaced in 1945-1955 than were Arabs displaced from Israel in and around the war of Independence.

    There may be a lot of elephants, but rational discussion is much easier when grounded on actual verifiable facts.

  36. Anonymous Says:

    Fact: many Jews were kicked out of Arab countries and fled to Israel [deletia]

    That might well be true but it misses the point. That is not how the elephant looks to the Arabs. Simply stating a fact doesn’t change the Arab perspective.

    Furthermore, as already noted here “the other side does too” is not a proper justification of either side.

    People with such deeply held and entrenched positions should not be complaining about the lack of peace on the ground. Peace will require understanding and compromise from both sides.

    If you choose to be an ideologue then don’t come around complaining about the hardened response from the other side. What else did you expect? (Same applies to Hamas, if they fail to call a truce).

  37. Scott Says:


    “The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!”

    There’s a big campaign to plant trees in Israel — who knew that those arboreal ingrates would “turn their colors” in more ways than one? Though come to think of it, I’ve long suspected a certain oak near my apartment building of being an anti-Semite. I tried to tell it the Jews are not so bad, but it was like talking to wood…

  38. Anonymous Says:

    Not surprising they elected Hamas. With brutal Israeli terrorism for over 35 years, palestinians see little hope. The best you can do, Scott, is to participate with other US protestors to stop over three decades of US (and its offshare base Israel) terrorism in violation of every international law.

    Interesting take on this by Fisk:


  39. Anonymous Says:

    “The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!”

    This is probably why Israel is uprooting all the Palastinan olive trees. Uprooting 100 year old trees, demolishing civilian houses with women and children in the middle of the night, killing international protestors (e.g., Rachel Corrie), etc … Israeli rulers must be really hard-hearted folks.

  40. Anonymous Says:

    Interesting take on this by Fisk:


    How dare you quote Fisk? He is banished from the US media. 🙂

    He belongs to a long list of people, that one never sees/hears/reads in the US mass media.

    Welcome to the bubble.

  41. Anonymous Says:

    “killing international protestors (e.g., Rachel Corrie)”

    It’s not that criticism of Israel is unwarrented, but the levels of it are disproportionate. When something horrible happens, and a protestor is killed when in something resembling a combat zone, this seems to mean Israel is evil. This often comes from the same people supporting the forces trying to push the US out of Iraq, to whom international journalists are intentional, not accidental, targets.

  42. Anonymous Says:

    Fisk’s point, that Hamas and Israel would, has, and will talk to one another is not new. In fact, Israeli defence minister Mofaz (certainly not a leftist) suggested that Hamas might be a better partner at least for short term arrangements.

    The comments on “35 years of Israeli terrorism” are rather hysterical. Yes, there’s much to criticize Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians in the last 37 years.

    However, you must remember that it was the Palestinian and Arab leadership that rejected the UN resolution for an independent Palestinian state in 1947, and failed to establish such a state between 1948 and 1967. You should also remember that since 1992, Israel has been committed to the end of the occupation and establishment of such a state, and Israel is also partly to blame this did not happen, the main reason for this is Palestinian terrorism and disagreement on religious (i.e., Jerusalem) rather than human-rights issue. (Of course I’m not saying the Palestinian leadership doesn’t have a right to hold their religious principles on a higher priority than ending the occupation, but it should be acknowledged that they made this choice.)

    Also, there is a difference between demolishing trees and houses used by terrorists and shooting point blank a mother and her 5 year old daughter, or throwing a disabled person in a wheelchair into the ocean.

    There is still a difference even if this demolishing is done sometimes (in my view) with criminal negligence to possible damage to innocent bystanders (as was in the case of Rachel Corrie).

  43. Anonymous Says:

    Just to clarify, horrendous acts were also committed by Israeli extremists. However, they were much fewer of them, and such extremists are a marginal part of Israeli society, very far from being elected to leadership.

  44. Anonymous Says:

    However, they were much fewer of them


    and such extremists are a marginal part of Israeli society

    Generally true, yes.

    very far from being elected to leadership.

    You lost me at Sharon.

  45. Anonymous Says:

    It’s true that Sharon has been involved in acts that are on the border between criminal negligence and outright terrorism (Kibya, Sabra & Shatila), 50 and 20 years ago. However, this is still very far from, say, attacking a school and holding the students hostage (Maalot, 1974, in previous comment I referred to murder of Klinghoffer in 1985. I don’t remember the place where a gunman shot a mother and daughter point blank, but a similar thing (mother and two sons) happened in Kibutz Metzer in 2002).

    He was also preceived to have softened by the time he was elected prime minister, and thus gained many votes from Israeli citizens who are to the left of the Likud party.

  46. Michael Bacon Says:

    Islamists are dogmatic, fanatical, medieval, ossified, totalitarian and intolerant. These attitudes are directed not only at Jews, but Christians, atheists, women and now, even “cartoonists,” and the West and modernity in general. To paraphrase David Deutsch: people wring their hands and say that there must be better ways of finding solutions. Of course there are. We have already found them. The nations and people of the West use them all the time. They are openness, tolerance, reason, respect for human rights — the fundamental institutions of our civilisation. But no way of finding solutions is so effective that it can work when it isn’t being used. And when a violent group defines itself by its comprehensive rejection of all the values on which problem-solving and the peaceful resolution of disputes depend, and embarks instead on campaigns of murder and destruction, it is morally wrong as well as factually inaccurate to represent this as a case of our needing better ways of finding solutions. You can perceive our stance and theirs as symmetrical only by expunging morality from your analysis: seeing all political objectives as being basically legitimate, all rival value systems as matters of taste, treating murderers and their victims with evenhanded sympathy. You have to look at tolerance and its opposite, intolerance, and pretend that they are two versions of the same thing. You have to pretend that the richness and diversity and creativity of our civilisation are playing the same role in our lives as empty repetition, oppression, and pitiless enforcement of a monoculture play in theirs. Although we (including the Israelis) are many times unsuccessful in implementing fully all of our values, and too often terrible mistakes (some unfortunately intentional) are made, there is simply to moral equivalence.

  47. Michael Bacon Says:

    Sorry for the typo. Of course, I meant that there is “simply no moral equivilance.”

  48. Anonymous Says:

    Hi Scott, former roommate
    David here. I hope the
    Hamas thing does not get
    you down. I personally
    (and I know at least one
    other person who feels the
    same) feel pretty positive about
    Hamas having won, for
    reasons such as:

    1) More pressure (of various kinds, among them I suspect
    will be diplomatic pressure or aid conditions coming from Arab govts.) on Hamas to
    behave now that they are in power.

    2) Hamas has a reptuation of
    being less corrupt and more effective at helping
    needy Palestinians than the PLO.
    Palestinians being materially better off means less frustration driving extremism means (I hope) better chance of peace.

    3) On a similar note as 2):
    Palestinians don’t vote just
    on the peace process issue.
    Neither do Israelis. (As you
    may know socio-economic policy
    is a huge election issue in
    Israel but it’s not talked
    about much when foreign media
    reports Israeli elections.) The
    vote for Hamas may have been
    in large part a response to
    PLO corruption and inefficiency —
    in how large a part, it’s
    hard for me to say.

    4) The responsibility of being
    in charge gives a new perspective to the Hamas leadership and could mellow them like it mellowed Sharon.

    Anyway my thoughts are with you
    and I hope the above makes you feel better! I didn’t
    have time to read everyone else’s
    comments so I apologize if I’m repeating stuff!

    Best wishes to you and your family,