Adam Hanieh

The End of a Political Fiction?

Hamas’s landslide victory in the January 25 elections for the 132-seat Palestinian Legislative Council is an unprecedented turning point for politics in both Palestine and the broader Middle East. Arguably for the first time since the establishment of Israel in 1948, an official administrative power in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has strong popular support and is not directly beholden to Israeli or Western interests. The Hamas victory helps to dispel the myths surrounding the negotiations of the last decade. Hamas’s victory expressed a political sentiment and desire for a real alternative to the Oslo straitjacket. The Hamas leadership clearly recognizes this and has shown little inclination to implement far-reaching social changes along religious lines.