An excellent analysis of the Hamas victory
As I wrote a few days ago, swing voters who are not into long-term political analysis tend to be highly motivated to vote out the political party in power when that party is exposed as deeply corrupt and haven't delivered peace or prosperity (and most of the time, that's a good thing). The Hamas victory at the polls is no exception in terms of explaining the Hamas victory in the Palestinian areas surrounding Israel.
With the election victory for Hamas, there is some reason to think Hamas may be forced into conceding the existence of Israel because they are now the government. There appear to be more and more Palestinians, despite this vote, who no longer want war and figured the best way to stop Hamas was put the organization into the open with no ability to attack the Palestinian Authority. On the other hand, if the marjority of Hamas leaders interpret their victory as a mandate for war against Israel, the Israelis now have a direct government target no different than the Americans did with Japan and Germany in World War II.
David Bernstein, over at the rightward oriented Volokh Conspiracy, is someone I don't think I have much agreement with concerning political or economic issues. However, his analysis of the Hamas victory mirrors many, though not all, of my thoughts on this subject. Thanks, David, for saving me some time when I've been obsessing on the Alito nomination! My only quibble is this: Has Hamas really observed a truce these last six months? Does retaliation count as observing a truce, for example? And are there no instances where there were Hamas suicide bombers acting more aggressively to not deserve the pharse "retailiation only"?
In any event, I do agree with Bernstein's opening phrase of his post that the election of the Hamas party may have been a victory for terrorists, but not necessarily for terrorism. Smart diplomacy by Israel could create a Nixon-goes-to-China/Russia scenario, though the Middle East is the land of lost opportunities these past sixty years.