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Hamas's Suprise - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Hamas is in complete shock after the overwhelming results of the Palestinian elections, so much so that the movement is unsure of its next step. Hamas was not prepared for the results that were declared 25 January, nor was the Palestinian government, nor other political parties and figures. Even the Israeli administration had decided to begin an investigation with the related authorities into why the remarkable results for Israel’s biggest enemy were not predicted.

Europe has stated that it would reconsider the billion dollar aid that its gives to Palestinians as they never expected Hamas to be joining the Palestinian government. The American government believes that it may have committed a major mistake in training Palestinian security forces and supplying them with the necessary equipment. Thus, reactions of astonishment continue to overwhelm the international political arena.

We should remember that the most outlandish figures that we received did not correspond with the real figures. Immediately after the elections, it was reported that Hamas had won 58 parliamentary seats whereas Fatah had attained 63 out of 132. The next day, however, it was officially declared that Hamas had attained 76 seats whereas Fatah gained only 43.

Hamas itself is now completely confused and Fatah is traumatized as political players reconsider their priorities and reorganize their agendas. Such reconsiderations will continue throughout the upcoming months, the events of which will put Hamas to the test. If Fatah were to accept assistance from Hamas and recognize it as its partner in one national government, this would surely lead to diffusing the situation, and Hamas, known for its denial of Israel’s right of existence, would find another justification for the new positions it would take regarding negotiations with Israel and continuation of the necessary arrangements for the movement of the Palestinians.

It is for these reasons that Hamas is as surprised as the unsuccessful parties, if not more, at its own success from which we should not expect speedy decisions. Hamas should not make its public statements regarding its various political positions before it has set its own goals and has prepared for its first step. Hamas is now responsible for its statements, decisions, and actions.

I believe that we will witness difficult consequences to the Hamas victory upon it’s members and that the movement will be divided into two main groups. The first group will be pragmatic and will base the actions of Hamas on the fact that it has an historical opportunity to take a lead role in Palestinian affairs and this urges the movement to rise to the responsibility and realize that the government of Hamas will differ to the movement of Hamas. The other group will consider any alteration in the movement’s stances as a failure for its supporters and a relapse in its agenda, furthermore, that for Hamas to give up its newfound power is honorable rather than to sell its political dignity.

We will witness a state of internal division that may ensure a solution for all. The possible splitting of the Hamas movement, similar to the case with Fatah that had witnessed frequent turmoil in comparable circumstances, will represent a comfortable solution, as it will enable the movement’s opposition to continue on its course and allow a chance for pragmatic members to run the government. Furthermore, Fatah will then believe that it can defeat Hamas in the next elections, the movement that would have lost much of its strength.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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