ASK Commentary
January 31, 2006 


Commentary for January 31, 2006 — The Palestinian Election and New ASK Article 
The astonishing electoral victory of the radical Palestinian group called Hamas over the rival political party called Fatah was a surprise to everyone around the world, including the two major Palestinian groups themselves. As God continues to move events toward His end-time scenario Israel and the Middle East is increasingly the center of world attention.

News reports point out that no government, news service, or intelligence service, not even Israeli intelligence, thought that Hamas had a chance in gaining enough votes to threaten the political dominance of the Fatah party. (Fatah was founded by Yasser Arafat, see my article “The Death of Yasser Arafat.” Currently the Fatah party controls the Palestinian Authority, the recognized governmental body, with which all nations and organizations deal and negotiate.  

The Hamas victory, as President Bush noted in a recent press conference, was probably due to the perceived large scale corruption and theft of funds intended for the Palestinian people going to officials of the Fatah party. With nearly 50% unemployment in portions of the Palestinian areas, and aid being appropriated by Palestinian leaders (most all of the Fatah Party), discontent among voters was widespread. It is a political axiom that “All politics is local.” The Palestinians voted to improve their situations. The Hamas Party, although proudly a terrorist organization, is well known for the honesty of its members, a lack of corruption, and for providing local services to Palestinians. Whatever the reason, the Hamas victory was unforeseen and undesirable by most of the world’s leaders. 

The days following the election saw riots and demonstrations taking place in Gaza and the West Bank. Supporters of the Hamas Party rioted in celebration. The Fatah Party supporters rioted against their own leaders, demanding the current leaders step down from their governmental positions because of their incompetence, both in running the economy and in running the election. 

While an accommodation may be worked out between Fatah and Hamas, there is also an increased possibility of civil war between the two Palestinian factions. Hamas openly promotes violence against opponents, particularly Israel, and Fatah itself has terrorist roots in its early days. See my August 12, 2005 article “Civil Wars,” where this possibility is discussed by Mahmoud Abbas, the current Palestinian President. By the way, the recent election was a powerful rejection of Abbas’ leadership. 

A Palestinian civil war would raise the possibility of military intervention by either Israel or western countries, or even a coalition of Arab or Islamic countries. Keeping the peace in the area would be a very difficult proposition due to the number of weapons held by the disaffected population, and because of the stridency of the young Palestinian people. 

The Hamas victory gave the party a strong majority in the Palestinian parliament but it does not automatically give them control of the Palestinian government. The victory caught Hamas by surprise along with everyone else, and they are uncertain on how to proceed to exercise their new power. 

Hamas has come close to gaining what every revolutionary and protest party earnestly desires, which is to become the ruling government. This is very difficult to do and for Hamas to accomplish this goal is a remarkable feat, whatever the reason for the victory. It is clear that the election was “fair” simply because no one (except Hamas) desired a Hamas victory. 

The problem with Hamas being in power is their constantly expressed desire for the destruction of the State of Israel and the removal of most all Jews from that land. This desire was in their founding charter, and it is still in the charter of their organization as a major issue of their political program. Further, over the decades they have carried out hundreds of terrorist attacks against Israel. Their actions have been a powerful violent political message backing up their written and verbal pronouncements.

The Palestinians claim Israel’s territory, including Jerusalem, as their own. The Hamas victory is being hailed by them and their allies, such as Iran and other radical Islamic political and terrorist groups, as a major step forward toward fulfilling their goal of eliminating Israel, but also is seen as a major step in the increase in power for Islamic people.  

The Hamas victory also provides problems for the United States whose policy is to promote democratic institutions, particularly in the Middle East. Unfortunately the election result was a victory for a terrorist organization. Sometimes democracy is messy and undesirable results occur. See the BBC article “Hamas Win Sets World a Conundrum.” 

The United States and Europe unanimously acknowledged the will of the Palestinian people in what all say was a fair election, but they are dismayed at the outcome. They threaten to cut off humanitarian relief funds allocated to the Palestinian people unless and until Hamas repudiates their stance on the destruction of Israel. A precedent of this happening was the public announcement by Fatah Party founder Yasser Arafat several years ago that he would give up pronouncing the destruction of and accept coexistence with Israel. It now appears that Arafat’s actions were different from his words. 

Jerusalem Will Be the Focus

As the Palestinian situation plays out, Israel and Jerusalem will increasingly become the focal point of world attention. The problems will seem insurmountable. Israel will appear to be stubborn to the other nations of the world in its desire to maintain its sovereignty. While this is a normal desire of any nation, Israel will be seen as a “special case” where an exception must be made. An increasing desire of the world will be for Israel to give up its independence and to have the Holy Land “administered” by a consortium of world powers. Of course this will be rejected by Israel, which will become increasingly isolated. 

While this pressure builds in the coming years, other events, even some remarkable happenings, will take place which will make Israel the center of the world’s attention in a positive way. One such event will be the appearance on the scene (it will seem to be “from nowhere”) of a Jewish leader called the Elijah to come. He was expected by the Jews in the 1st century. The role of the Elijah to come was partially fulfilled in the person of John the Baptist. Another person to fulfill a similar role of the Elijah should be expected in the future to us today as a prelude to Christ’s Second Coming. 

He will be an Aaronic Priest from the Levitical tribe of Israel, and he will likely be able to prove his lineage. It is certain he will be a Priest both because his predecessors were priests and because he will make decisions regarding the Temple and its administration that only a priest could or would make. He will be a major force in the restitution of all things regarding the people of Israel and the Law of Moses. He shall return the hearts of the people to God through Moses and reconcile fathers to children and children to fathers, both on a personal level and on a spiritual level by returning the people of Israel back to the Bible. 

Read the “February 2006 Newsletter” which introduces Dr. Martin’s fascinating study of “The Elijah to Come.”

David Sielaff

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