Good news: Fatah (corrupt, incompetent, abusive) lost. Good news: Clean election (amusing details here); the losers are exiting gracefully, which is huge, Arabs in recent times have rarely enjoyed the privilege of peacefully firing their rulers. Now, as for the winners... They don’t seem to have an English web site so anything we say about them is on second-hand authority, but unless a lot of reporters are lying, they’re more or less Wahhabi-style beards-for-men veils-for-women fun-for-nobody Islamists, and what appears to be their manifesto refers to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, demonstrating that they’re not just racists, they’re gullible racists. Also, Hamas has engaged in terrorism. Now, lots of movements once regarded as terrorist have ended up evolving into respectable political parties, but it’s hard to imagine organized religious fanaticism growing into the basis for a civilized government. Hamas’ win also means that maniacs like Netenyahu can claim that there’s no point talking to Palestinians, but then he’d say that even if Mother Theresa had just won the election. In fact, the Israelis today saying “the peace process is over” are, by and large, the ones who never wanted it to start. On the other hand, as Br’er Rob points out, if you want peace you have to talk to your enemies, and yep, these are definitely Israel’s real enemies. The best possible outcome is that Hamas cleans up some of the corruption, outgrows terrorism, and realizes that most of the Palestinians aren’t going to go for the beards, veils, and so on. The worst is what we’re more likely to get, the Middle East being what it is. Anyhow, there’s good online coverage at Al-Jazeera (here and here), Ha’aretz (here and in their election blog), and from Leila El-Haddad. In the interim, the mindless daily bloodshed grinds on. I picked that by going to Ha’aretz and finding the first story about someone being killed, there’s one of those almost every day. When nine-year-olds are shot, it doesn’t matter which side they’re from.