Hamas win requires refocus on peace goal
The surprising victory of the militant group Hamas in the recent Palestinian elections is a fact that is difficult for the United States to accept. It also creates a whole new set of challenges for peace in the Middle East.
Given the outcome of the election, it's time to rethink the path to peace.
The European Union, the U.S., the United Nations and Russia have agreed that aid to the Palestinian government may continue until a Hamas-led administration takes over.
The U.S. takes a somewhat tougher tack, with similar goals in mind. It plans to withhold some $70 million in funding unless Hamas renounces terrorism and recognizes Israel's right to exist.
Fair enough. Of course the U.S. should not condone the terrorism Hamas represents. No one expected the Palestinians to throw out the corrupt Fatah government in favor of Hamas, which has an abhorrent record of violence and intolerance, yet won approval by providing much-needed social services.
Coming off the surprising election, the U.S should continue to provide aid and allow Hamas adequate time to prove itself a peaceful partner. Once Hamas has had an opportunity to establish its government, if it continues to embrace terrorism, then all financial support of the regime should be rescinded.
Currently, Israel occupies portions of the West Bank and Gaza, and continues to assert its right to take and resettle Palestinian lands, pushing Palestinians into refugee camps.
Clearly in these tenuous times, both sides have to give in order to get the elusive peace everyone is seeking.
Last week's vote sends the world a message that a vast majority of Palestinians, weary of a process, are desperate for change.
They have embraced democracy. Now we must watch to see if both sides embrace peace.
Correction: The European Union, the U.S., the United Nations and Russia have agreed that aid to the Palestinian government may continue until a Hamas-led administration takes over. An previous version of this editorial was not clear on that point.