Robert Fisk on Hamas

In an article in The Independent Robert Fisk mocks those who are “appaled” at Hamas victory:

And now, horror of horrors, the Palestinians have elected the wrong party to power. They were supposed to have given their support to the friendly, pro-Western, corrupt, absolutely pro-American Fatah, which had promised to “control” them, rather than to Hamas, which said they would represent them. And, bingo, they have chosen the wrong party again.

For him, sooner or later Israel will talk with Hamas. As Israel did in the past.

Back in 1983, Hamas talked to the Israelis. They spoke directly to them about the spread of mosques and religious teaching. The Israeli army boasted about this on the front page of the Jerusalem Post. At that time, it looked like the PLO was not going to abide by the Oslo resolutions. There seemed nothing wrong, therefore, with continuing talks with Hamas. So how come talks with Hamas now seem so impossible? … The Israelis know well the Hamas leadership. And the Hamas leadership know well the Israelis. There is no point in journalists like us suggesting otherwise. Our enemies invariably turn out to be our greatest friends, and our friends turn out, sadly, to be our enemies.

Fisk concludes with a call for Westerners to respect democracy in the Middle East:

Democracy means real freedom, not just for the people we choose to have voted into power. And that is the problem in the Middle East.

For Fisk the history of the Middle East is, above all, a history of Western (and Israel) deception, double-talking and hipocrisy. That’s all. If he could only demand from Arabs the same self-criticism (wrapped in moral outrage) that he demands from the West and Israel. Will he ever do that?

2 Responses to Robert Fisk on Hamas

  1. Irene says:

    Does Mr. Fisk really know about democracy? Or is this his idea of it

  2. Andrew Gow says:

    Mr. Fisk, like Mr. Bush and the American officials who pushed for elections in the PA, have confused ‘democracy’ with the system-stabilizing functions of first-past-the-post voting systems, a very imperfect type of democratic election system. Had anyone thought this out in advance, it might have become clear that the only hope of preventing a Hamas majority of seats would have been proportional representation. First-past-the-post systems are an antiquated ‘technology’–it was already very old, in fact, even in the eighteenth century, when it was adopted in the new American republic–that needs to be replaced by something that more clearly represents the actual votes cast for each party or candidate. Note that sitting Democrats are in minority in both Houses, yet they received 2.9 million more votes than sitting Republicans: why? For the same reason you had a president elected by fewer votes than his opponent received. My advice as a smug Canadian (also afflictd by the lack of proportional rep.) to American democracy-mongers is to fix your own first before you offer it to the rest of the world. The flaws in the first-past-the-post system contributed directly to the Hamas majority. I agree that democracy is the best long-term solution for all our problems!

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