Palestinians got what they voted for

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! It’s hard to say this to a family that hadn’t seen a paycheck in three months, but you got what you voted for. It’s hard to watch the Gaza Strip fall further into ruin, and not offer at least one “told you so.” There’s no way the Palestinian people could not have known what would ensue if they handed the torch to Hamas in the last elections. Hamas, after all, is not concerned with getting your garbage picked up, keeping the lights on or developing infrastructure. It’s not a group looking for sound ways to draw investment to the region, or concerned about providing children with a well-rounded education to enable them to function and succeed in the world. One overwhelming concern colors all of its domestic policy, all of its foreign policy, and every Palestinian party squabble: martyrdom. Before it was axed off the Internet in the United States, I used to regularly read Hamas’ Web site. In addition to pages spent blathering about Zionists, the site featured violent poetry encouraging martyrdom and downloadable wallpaper images with heroic Hamas figures set amid explosions. While the destruction of Israel was lauded as a noble goal, how to create a flourishing Palestinian state seemed off their radar. The problem with this single focus – besides the utter violence – is that martyrdom doesn’t feed and clothe your people, doesn’t fix potholes in the street, doesn’t transform a reliant state into a self-sustaining one. In voting for Hamas, the Palestinian people signed up for economic martyrdom, too. Everybody knew that the majority of the international community wouldn’t fund a group that advocated murderous attacks on its neighbor and the destruction of our ally. And so the Palestinian government quickly went broke. What is Hamas doing about it? Al-Jazeera reported on May 15 that Palestinian officials discovered a tunnel dug under President Mahmoud Abbas’ house in Gaza, suspecting it was a plot by Hamas to assassinate the Fatah leader. If Abbas dies, the speaker of the Hamas-led parliament would become president under Palestinian law. Hamas denied involvement. Earlier in the month, the UK’s Sunday Times reported that Israeli intelligence warned Abbas that members of Izzedin al-Qassam, Hamas’ military wing, planned to kill him on a visit to the Gaza Strip. Abbas took the warning seriously enough to cancel the visit. Days after the Al-Jazeera report, Fatah member and Palestinian intelligence chief Tareq Abu Rajab was seriously injured in a blast at his Gaza City headquarters. The next day, security chief Rashid Abu Shbak – also Fatah – was targeted by a roadside bomb planted en route from his home to his office. A previously unknown group boasting to be the Palestinian branch of al-Qaida claimed responsibility for the attack on Rajab, also stating on a Web site that they would target Abbas. Fatah still blames Hamas. But even if a new cabal of shoot-first Islamists has sprung up to spread bloodshed, Hamas is clearly not shedding any tears over the assassination attempts. In fact, the Fatah-Hamas conflict, which has seen rampant gunslinging in the streets in recent days, may bring civil war to a region that hasn’t even become a nation yet. And, by the way, is broke. The only change Hamas is actively seeking is geographic change – violently seize Israel so that the Palestinian map actually matches the ones that have been used to brainwash children in school textbooks. The maps don’t even show the Jewish state existing. In recent days, Abbas gave Hamas an ultimatum: Accept a two-state solution within 10 days, or he’ll take a referendum on the issue past their heads and to voters. “Nobody will recognize Israel,” sniped Hamas member and Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar about the proposal, which they rejected Sunday. And how would Palestinians vote on this, possibly as soon as July? Considering voters went for broke – literally – by electing Hamas, they may once again pick the jihad quest over common sense. But maybe I’m too quick to judge Hamas’ lack of governmental prowess: al-Zahar had an idea worthy of a prime-time telethon to relieve the financial crisis. Every Muslim should put a dollar in an envelope and send it to the Palestinian Authority, “so we can raise $1.3 billion per year.” Who knows, maybe next they’ll start selling Snickers bars door to door to raise cash. Just don’t open the door if you’re Fatah. Bridget Johnson writes for the Daily News. E-mail her at [email protected]last_img read more

December 27, 2019 0