In the recent Palestinian elections Hamas were returned as the largest party and therefore form the new Government. Therefore the attack in Tel Aviv today takes on a whole new meaning, this being the first Hamas attack on Israel since the election result was declared.
When a terrorist group seeks a political mandate there is a hard choice to make. It has to be either the bomb or the ballot box. Both leads to confusion as to motive and who is in control.
Sein Fein are one of the closest examples to what Hamas has achieved but even they had confusion over the two roles. Also although they became part of the power sharing Executive they have not been returned as the largest party unlike Hamas. Therefore Hamas are different in the fact that as the Government they are in charge of the Palestinian security forces but they still appear to have a terrorist wing. Both started out as terrorist opposing what they saw as an occupying force.
With Hamas's new heightened place in the Middle East their claims that today's attack on a falafel Restaurant in Tel Aviv, during lunchtime were in 'self-defence' doesn't hold much water. Having eaten a fair amount of falafel in my time I do not see how it can possibly cause a national security risk, especially not with civilians milling around it. This is an act of terrorism not an attack against a military target.
One thing is certain the way Isreal are treating their Palestinian neighbours is abhorant. Isreal needs to be realistic seeing that the more they make unilateral decision to repress their neighbors the more they will kick back. However, the elected government of Palestine must also now seek to open diplomatic channels to enable change rather than carry on a terroist regime, as this can now be miusconstrued as open warfare. The leaders in the World with power and influence, especially Messers. Blair and Bush, should stop taking, or appear to take sides, in this issue and act as mediators or facilitators for others to act as mediators (especially as their own standing in the region with Arab nations is low).
We live in interesting times.