Tuesday, February 08, 2011


Published today in the Australian Financial Review

Your February 4 editorial states that the US ignored Palestinian election results when Hamas won (with 44% of the vote to Fatah’s 41%), and continued to recognise Fatah. The reality was considerably more complex. Mahmoud Abbas, from Fatah, was still the legitimate president as the result of a separate election, and the division of power between the President and Parliament in the Palestinian Authority is unclear. The US had only agreed to establish relations with Fatah when it agreed to renounce violence and accept Israel’s right to exist. The Hamas government was offered relations on the same preconditions but repeatedly refused. Finally, it was not just the US that withheld relations with the Hamas government on that basis, but the Quartet, consisting of the US, European Union, Russia and the UN.
Hamas may have won the election, but it has shown by its subsequent conduct that it is anything but democratic or concerned with human rights. A major concern with Egypt, which should not be downplayed, is that if the Muslim Brotherhood, which spawned Hamas, takes power, even by democratic means, the result will be the same.

George Greenberg
Malvern, Vic

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