Bloggers are alarmed that Hamas' victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections will throw the unstable region into greater chaos. Meanwhile, they are debating what impact the release of five female Iraqi prisoners will have on the fate of kidnapped American journalist Jill Carroll.
Tear up the road map: The Hamas Party, which has called for the annihilation of Israel, trounced the ruling Fatah Party in this week's Palestinian Authority elections. Hamas is deemed a terrorist group by both the United States and Israel, and leaders of both countries have pledged not to negotiate with the party if it does not change its platform.
D.C. resident Steve Moyer at the Tension Blog agrees with the official U.S. policy against dealing with Hamas. "If in general, all terrorism should be destroyed, logic follows that Hamas should be destroyed, not legitimated, and much less courted." Foyle at Verum Serum predicts more bloodshed under the new ruling party and is pessimistic about the rise of Hamas in light of ongoing events in Iran and Syria. "I don't want to veer into Pat Robertson territory here, but I think we have a newly constituted axis of evil," he quips.
Nephtuli, the Orthodox Jew and social conservative behind Prima Impressionis, sees the outcome as an opportunity to oppose the new Palestinian Authority. Hamas rule "gives Israel a real excuse to retaliate against the PA whenever a terrorist attack occurs. Until now they blamed the PA for not stopping terror; now they can hold it responsible for carrying it out."
Steve Plaut at conservative group blog the Autonomistbluntly heralds the Hamas victory as a wake-up call for Israel. "When the Hamas is marching about with costumes of suicide bombers and with its swastikas and other paraphernalia, then there can be no delusions about the nazification of the Palestinians," says Plaut.
The right-leaning Solid Surfer asserts that "because Fatah tantalizingly keeps promising a wishful peace in exchange for Israeli concessions (land and otherwise), Israel continues to negotiate itself practically out of existence for the smallest glimmer of hope." The post concludes that Hamas' oft-sited desired to see Israel destroyed gives Israelis cause to fight land encroachment by the PA rather than continue fruitless negotiations.
The Gavriel at AbbaGav encourages folks who feel dispirited by the change of power to look on "the bright side" of the Hamas victory: "At least Al Qaeda wasn't running (on their own ticket)" and whoever is looking can find "discounts on all Fatah souvenirs and memorabilia at the Muqata giftshop."
Melly, a writer who contributes to With Sticks and Stones, hopes that Hamas will follow the Palestinian Liberation Organization model and grow less militant. "The pressure from the international community combined with their wish to alleviate Palestinian suffering might push them to embrace peaceful solutions."
Eric Umansky, who writes for Slate, blogs: "I still suspect the win will moderate the group. … And I still believe, the U.S. should not reflexively shun Hamas. Rather make dealing with them a function not of who they are but what they do."
Greg, the liberal half of Elephonkey Lounge, worries about the next generation of Palestinians in the wake of the Hamas victory. He had a visceral reaction to images of children celebrating in the streets with Hamas flags: "I know everyone loves a winner, but seeing the youngest generation of Palestinians rallying behind such a despicable group is chilling."
Iraqi prisoners released: Bloggers are split on the release of five female Iraqi prisoners by the U.S. military yesterday. Some are hopeful this could lead to the release of kidnapped journalist Jill Caroll, while others are worried about the perception of capitulation. U.S. officials claim the prisoners' release is unrelated to these demands.
On Mental Mayhem, Natasha Tynes, a journalist of Jordanian descent, comments: "Whether this is related to Jill's abduction or not, this is good news, as it might help secure her release. The demands of the kidnappers have largely been met, whether directly or indirectly. They should set Jill free now!"
Mack on the Bruised Orange fears the timing of the release was dangerous. "This could put more American lives in danger, as I'm sure that the foreign and domestic media will paint this as capitulation. … What a horrible situation to be placed in by those savages."
Ninth State's Tom Hogan agrees in a post titled "Protecting Jill Carroll's Honor." He declares: "It is sad that these evil people may kill Jill Carroll but these killers… these animals must not get away with crimes against humanity. Jill Carroll's kidnapping and possible death must not be in vain; we cannot capitulate!" A poster named Lucy responds: "If she dies, should I feel better knowing that we didn't capitulate? Better her than me? I think it is really easy for us over here, safely in our homes, tapping away at the computer, to condemn this poor woman to die. … And although I can't speak for her, I think Jill Carroll would rather have her life than her honor."
Bloggers discuss Jill Carroll's fate here.