The victory of Hamas fundamentalists will have unprecedented consequences for the region, but since now, two elements are discerned. Hamas’s victory is an evidence of the incapacity of the traditional Palestinian leadership to form a political body.
The Palestinian Authority, which has enjoyed certain autonomy since the Oslo Agreement took place, preferred to create dozens of security services instead of using the funds it has to meet the needs of Palestinians. The vacuum left by the Palestinian Authority in the social sphere has been filled by Hamas and this has made it very popular. Hamas won the elections thanks to its social activity and not to its Islamist program, its will to destroy Israel or the corruption of the outgoing Palestinian leadership.
Terrorism is still an open issue. It’s difficult to know if Hamas will become more radical or more pragmatic now that it’s in power. What’s evident is that Israel’s unilateral action will go on since the gap between Israelis and Palestinians is still huge. This, at least, should make Kadima stronger for next March 28 elections.

Jordan Times (Jordan)
Daily Star (Lebanon)
Korea Herald (South Korea)

«Hamas in power», by Shlomo Avineri, Jordan Times, January 27, 2006.
«Prospects of Hamas in power», Korea Herald, January 28, 2006.
«A predictable victory in a failed Palestinian state», Daily Star, January 28, 2006.