Saturday, January 28, 2006

Hanna Siniora on Hamas

Another voice on the Hamas victory - from Hanna Siniora, the Palestinian co-leader of IPCRI:

For Hamas in opposition it was always easy to criticize. Now Hamas has a heavy of load of responsibility and duties to shoulder, on one hand they have to steer the ship of state to safety and to independence. As a religious fundamentalist movement they have to negotiate with Israel and be accepted by the West. Is Hamas able to modify its ideology? Or are they going to stick rigidly to its platform?

In the election campaign, Hamas managed to send signals of flexibility, they discarded the slogan calling for the destruction of Israel, Hamas announced its readiness to negotiate directly with Israel. They entered the democratic process of elections based on the Oslo agreements, while declaring that Oslo is dead. But what was important, tangible and real, and they continue to adhere the ceasefire.

Hamas, in a similar manner to the PLO before it is undergoing a process of transformation, history is repeating itself. Hamas is obliged to uphold its promises and pledges to its public to steer the ship of state to safety, to reexamine its platform, this is not going to happen overnight. In this process, it is a do or die situation, they have the responsibility of delivering the people from the burden of occupation as well as implementing their social and economic program. Militancy and armed confrontation of the occupation are not the tools of Hamas at the head of the PA they have also to change otherwise they will be isolated. The EU have to again be the vehicle in a similar role they played in the past with the PLO, the EU started it with the Venice declaration of 1980, the USA followed suit in the waning days of the Reagan administration and Israel through the Oslo Accords. Hamas also must reciprocate otherwise it will be ostracized and isolated. It is Hamas'’ turn to demonstrate flexibility and responsibility. Israel too can play an important role and profit from Hamas emerging as the leading power in the Palestinian political system. Israel has the ability to accelerate the Hamas movement towards moderation by adopting reciprocal and not unilateral steps. Israel by its actions can either drive Hamas deeper into the jungle or thus explode the fragile ceasefire or Israel and Hamas together can exploit the new situation to lead toward and political settlement.

Siniora seems to think that Hamas is in a process of transformation - I certainly hope that he is correct.


  1. I agree, and would take the liberty of saying I think many people agree or have thaught, that while serving as the majority in the Palastinian parlinment Hamas will rethink its position in relation to Isreal and continue negotians for a peaceful two state solution to the conflict. My concern as to the success of the palestinian government under Hamas is the Isreali government. Were Isreal still under Ariel Sharon and a strong Kadima I would be less worried as to the continuation of the peace process. My concern lies with Ehud Olmert, firstly I would ask if he would continue the policys with reguard to the palestinains as Sharon and Kadima or would he lean to the side of, and possibly rejoin, Likud. My second question is that if Mr. Olmert were to stick to current Kadima policy will he be able to win this up coming election in spite of the fact that Hamas coming to power might creat a sentiment for more conservative government policy possible under the Likud Party.

  2. I doubt that Olmert would rejoin Likud, given that he's now tasted power as the acting prime minister. Some of his actions also indicate that he's going more in the direction of Sharon than that of Likud. I also wonder if he'll be able to win the election - I hope so.