Much has been said about the January 25th Palestinian elections where an overwhelming majority of the people voted to replace Fatah with the terrorist organization Hamas, a group that proudly takes credit for the horrific suicide deaths of hundreds of innocent Israeli men, women and children, and whose primary mission is the destruction of Israel. In turn, Israel has cut off some $50+ million in tax payments to the Palestinian Authority, which is threatened with economic devastation if the payments are withheld long-term (since then the European Union has stepped in with $145-million in temporary aid).
Acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said his government will not deal with any Palestinian government which involves Hamas. He said Hamas' victory signifies that "the Palestinian Authority is, in effect, becoming a terrorist authority. ... Israel will not agree to that. The stopped payments include taxes and customs duties it collects on its behalf each month on imports and from Palestinian merchants and laborers working in Israel.
And the Israelis have been vilified over this hardline stance over everything from humanitarian reasons to its unwillingness to accept that Hamas was elected through a Democratic process, and that it should accept it as political counterpart. I don't think Israel has a problem per se with the election itself. Rather, the Palestinian people had a choice, and they have spoken, rewarding a 20-year-old terror organization with a landslide victory and the keys to their nation. Israel's stand is more like, Ok, you made your bed, now sleep in it.
Yes, in a Democracy one has the freedom of choice. And Israel surely recognizes that. But the Palestinian people could have just as freely kept Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in power and they didn't. That they decided to hand over the country to a ruthless band of suicide bombers does not in any way obligate Israel to turn the other cheek and recognize, or legitimize, this murderous bunch of terrorists hellbent on its destruction. The Palestinian people have spoken, yes, and so has Israel. Isn't Democracy a wonderful thing.