In Brief...World News Review: Palestinian Vote a Step Toward "Hamastan"?

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In Brief...World News Review

Palestinian Vote a Step Toward "Hamastan"?

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In a bizarre twist, a group that both the United States and the European Union consider to be a terrorist organization won the free election held in the Palestinian territories in late January. Hamas defeated the party of Arafat, Fatah, by taking a majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament, and it will form the new government.

Months before the election, rumors were circulating that the terrorist group wanted to create Hamastan, a new Islamic state out of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The already complex Middle East peace process just got incredibly more complex. Neither Washington nor Jerusalem will deal with Hamas. (Even the Fatah party is initially refusing to participate with Hamas in forming a government.) The EU wants Hamas to renounce its commitment to the destruction of the Jewish state, which Hamas adamantly refuses to do.

Illustrating the weirdness of this result is the fact that 31 of the candidates Hamas fielded in the election are in prison! So, the Palestinian Authority may have lawbreakers for lawmakers.

This story is just breaking as we go to press with this issue, so it is too early to tell the full consequences of it. But it could move Israel to elect conservative Likud Party candidates and make Benjamin Netanyahu the prime minister again.