January 25, 2006


Hamas is born as political force (Stephen Farrell in Gaza and Ian MacKinnon in Nablus, 1/26/05, Times of London)

EXIT polls showed that the Islamist group Hamas was set to deprive Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction of its majority in the Palestinian Parliament, marking a huge shift in the balance of power in Middle East politics.

As voting ended last night in the historic parliamentary election, the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research predicted that Fatah would lose its majority, capturing only 58 seats out of a total of 132.

Another exit poll, conducted by Bir Zeit University, showed 46.4 per cent for the secular nationalist Fatah, giving it 63 out of 132 seats but denying an absolute majority, with 39.5 per cent — 58 seats — for its Islamist rival.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 25, 2006 11:06 PM

...marking a huge shift in the balance of power in Middle East politics.

Curious how pundits and commentators are so quick and eager to categorize any kind of shift from Fatah ("Israel must disappear") to Hamas ("Israel must be destroyed") as "huge."

To be fair, the knitted-brow brigades could be referring to the huge shift in the color scheme of things.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at January 26, 2006 6:16 AM

Exactly. Peace-creep wishful thinking, reminiscent of the pre-WWII appeasers. The pre-September 1, 1939 media were full of talk like this.

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 26, 2006 6:31 AM

So, then, does it not follow logically that free elections in Iraq are also a "huge shiftin the balance of power in Middle East politics?"

Posted by: Mike Morley at January 26, 2006 6:32 AM