Just as the vote for Blair in 2005 did not signify support for the Iraq war, the election of Hamas was due to Palestinian anger at the policies of the Sharon government and the incompetence of Arafat’s regime, rather than an endorsement of an Islamist programme. Palestinian opinion polls have consistently shown a desire for a fair settlement based on the right of national self-determination of both peoples. While there is much to criticise in Sharon’s legacy to the Israelis, Hamas seems to be unable to overcome its ideological rigidity.
Dr Colin Shindler
SOAS, University of London