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The American Task Force on Palestine, Americans for Peace Now React to Hamas Election Victory

Below are statements on the Hamas victory by Americans for Peace Now and The American Task Force on Palestine, whose executive director, Rafi Dajani, and founder, Mark Rosenblum, spoke at South Mountain Peace Action's forum in November ( Click HERE for a separate statement by Rafi Dajani.


Washington, January 26 -- ATFP expressed satisfaction today with the Palestinian people's successful conducting of their elections for the
Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC.) An estimated 78% of registered Palestinian voters exercised their democratic right to vote yesterday in an orderly and peaceful manner.

ATFP reiterates that the only way for the Palestinians to achieve statehood on Palestinian lands occupied since 1967, is through the
exercise of non-violence and a process of political negotiation. Commenting from Palestine, where he is observing the Palestinian elections as a monitor, ATFP president Ziad Asali
said: "In spite of the challenging circumstances of a 38-year Israeli occupation, the Palestinian people demonstrated once again their democratic nature by conducting free, fair and peaceful elections." He added: "We urge whatever new Palestinian government is formed to engage in a process of peaceful political negotiation to achieve Palestinian statehood."

The ATFP is a not-for-profit organization that aims to educate the American people about the national security interests of the United
States in establishing a Palestinian state. Specifically, ATFP seeks to promote the awareness of the far-reaching benefits that Palestinian statehood will have for the United States in the following areas: (1) enhancing national security, (2) proliferation of American values of freedom and democracy, and (3) expansion of economic opportunities throughout the Arab and Islamic worlds.d



A political earthquake has struck the West Bank and Gaza.

Hamas' outright victory in the elections for the Palestinian Authority's legislature has created a great deal of uncertainty about Israel's security, the prospects for peace, and life in the West Bank and Gaza.

Pre-election polls indicate that the election results can best be attributed to a number of factors, including:

Popular revulsion with ongoing corruption associated with the ruling Fatah party;

Popular appreciation of Hamas for providing social services that Fatah and the Palestinian Authority failed to deliver;

Fatah's intra-party conflicts;

Internal chaos and lack of security in the West Bank and Gaza;

An absence of ongoing peace negotiations with Israel that Fatah could point to as a reason to keep that party in power; and

A lack of Israeli and U.S. actions to help bolster Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah while they were in power and extending an open hand to negotiations.

Americans for Peace Now (APN) is actively working to influence the reaction to this dramatic, and regrettable, event.

APN has called on the international community to make a concerted effort to pressure Hamas to recognize Israel's right to exist and to abandon violence against Israel.

APN has put forth that Israel should negotiate with anyone who recognizes its right to exist, is willing to talk peace with it, and rejects violence and terrorism. We've noted that this is not currently the case with Hamas.

APN has called for the continuation of international humanitarian aid to non-governmental organizations under appropriate monitoring and supervision to guarantee that the funds are not misused for terrorism.

APN has called on the U.S. and the rest of the international community to remain engaged in trying to prevent conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and in promoting policies that will allow the two sides to eventually return to negotiations.

The results of the Palestinian elections are troubling, and the future is uncertain. There is a hope that Hamas might moderate its behavior. In fact, Hamas has already demonstrated a degree of political pragmatism: It has reversed its view on participating in Palestinian elections for the legislative council (which was created by the Oslo Accords); Hamas candidates sent mixed signals about their future intentions during the campaign; and Hamas generally adhered to the ceasefire over the past year. If Hamas assumes greater responsibility as a governing party, would it see the need to recognize Israel and abandon hate-based politics?

Though the future is unclear, one thing is certain: Peace Now in Israel will continue to be the loudest and clearest voice for the majority of Israelis that support an end to the occupation and a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Likewise, APN will continue our efforts to educate and mobilize Americans and American Jews, influence the media, and advocate for a pro-peace agenda in Washington.

Peace Now will also continue to fight the expansion of settlements in the West Bank, by monitoring and reporting on settlement growth, and by filing legal appeals to compel the Israeli government to remove illegal outposts.

Settlements complicate Israel's ability to separate itself from the West Bank, create points of friction with Palestinian society, strain the resources of Israel's security forces, and waste Israel's financial resources.

A large and visible Israeli peace camp provides the Palestinian public with the hope that an independent Palestinian state can be reached through negotiations. Poll after poll has shown that this hope correlates with opposition to violence.

In the coming weeks and months, as both the Israeli and Palestinian governments are reshaped, APN and Peace Now will push for policies that signify a real end to violence, a rolling back of the occupation, and the eventual emergence of a two-state solution.

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