Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What the voters want

"They want what every first-term administration wants: A second term."

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) -- “Hamas will enter into the peace process because there’s no other choice”. The Palestinian people voted for Hamas to punish Fatah for its foolishness and errors. But the people, at least 78%, want peace with Israel and improved economic conditions. Hamas cannot ignore the people’s will.” This in the words of Nabil Kukali, director and founder of the Palestinian Centre for Palestine Opinion, which has been studying Palestinian public opinion since 1994. Kukali, a Christian, is also a professor at Hebron University, in one of the most heated areas of the West Bank and what is held to be a Hamas stronghold.

Professor Kukali is about to release a survey on the reasons for the Palestinian vote, following Hamas’ victory in parliamentary elections. Survey results show that if Hamas wants to maintain popular support, it must change tactics and program. “As long as Hamas was not in power, it could ‘resist’, but if it takes on government it can’t enter into dialogue and ‘resist’ at the same time.”

As for the worries expressed by Christians and moderate Muslims that the legislature might go off on a fundamentalist tangent, Prof Kukali is straightforward. “We Christians have lived here since the time of Christ and they cannot throw us out. We shall see how things evolve over the next few months. But I think the main perception among Palestinians is that we are a single people, Muslims and Christians, Hamas and Fatah supporters.”

Read the complete article Electors want peace with Israel: the constraint on Hamas from AsiaNews.it.

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