Photograph: Saif Dahlah/Getty
It seems like there is an upset and that Hamas has won the elections. The media is reporting that Hamas received 75 seats in the Palestinian Parliament and Fatah only 30. Israeli media has some interesting articles and questions asked. Projections have Salem Fiad the current minister of finance. He seems to be accepted and supported by all factions of Hamas. The Hamas is suggesting the formation of a broad unity government with the Fatah, but Fatah is rumored to reject the offer feeling it will become a puppet in a majority Hamas government. Sources in Fatah claim that the decision to take part in a unity government will be a subject of great debate within the organization. Abu Mazan accepted the resignation of the Abu Alla government a little while ago.
Some possible scenarios that are being proposed:
Secenario 1: Hamas allows Abu Mazan to continue with the state and political negotiations with the Israelis. This means Hamas will moderate its stance and allow some flexibility in negotiations, keeping its belief in a Palestine that spreads from “the sea to the Jordan” on the back burner and focusing attention on developing the “Islamic State of Palestine”. This would mean an operating democracy with the ususal back and forth in parliament between the coalition and opposition.
Scenario 2: Hamas clamps down on Abu Mazan and his agenda, complicating things with the US and Israel that pressure for the dismantling of the Palestinian Parliament, with hopes of bringing about new elections with different results. This scenario promises a wave of unprecedented violence from Hamas and for now seems the least probable.
Scenario 3: Abu Mazan quite all together (as he promised prior to the elections in interviews). This is a nightmare scenario for the US and the Europeans. In the void left behind violent gangs, in fighting and an escalation of attacks on Israel begins.
Much of what happens now will be determined by the Hamas and how it will approach the existing Fatah power base that for example still controls the Interior Ministry that houses thousands of security personal loyal to Fatah.
Other stories out there. The Intelligence services in Israel are a little confused and embarrassed about their lack of ability to foretell these results. The Israeli Chief of Staff was cautious when asked recently and left room for the possibility that Hamas will win, but the generals in the field for the most part did not foresee this victory.
These results according to security forces donâ€™t necessarily mean an escalation of hostilities or an increased threat to Israel. Regardless, the Hamas is viewed as a terror organization and the armed forces sees it as such. As long as Hamas doesnâ€™t recognize Israel and does not re brand itself as a non terrorist organization, something not likely to occur, there will be no dialog with Hamas.
The Hamas appealed apparently to a large part of the Palestinian population. A large part of it is the attention to the social and economical agenda in the territories. People had enough of the corruption and exploitation of the Fatah, the abuse of power and perhaps this is a determining factor.
For the most part once Hamas comes into power as the ruling body, the responsibility for the people is significantly magnified. Fundamental Islamic organizations in the Arab world have won popularity because of their special social programs, providing financial support, health care and social services to the masses and appealing to the man on the street. In this case it seems that these activities contributed to their democratic move to lead the people in the Palestinian Authority.
With this move however they become the power holders. They become responsible for everything and they need to accommodate more then the social and economical conditions.
The democratic process should be applauded and barring any disasters in the transfer of power these elections are an important step in the history of the Palestinian Authority. Itâ€™s a new beginning and a time for change. Change can be a good thingâ€¦.