Charles Krauthammer
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WASHINGTON -- Amid much gnashing of teeth, the Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections is being called a disaster. On the contrary. It is deeply clarifying and ultimately cleansing. If the world responds correctly, it will mark a turning point for the better.

The Palestinian people have spoken. According to their apologists, sure, Hamas wants to destroy Israel, wage permanent war and send suicide bombers into discotheques to drive nails into the skulls of young Israelis, but what the Palestinians were really voting for was efficient garbage collection.

It is time to stop infantilizing the Palestinians. As Hamas leader Khaled Meshal said in a news conference four days after the election, ``The Palestinian people have chosen Hamas with its known stances.'' By a landslide, the Palestinian people have chosen these known stances: rejectionism, Islamism, terrorism, rank anti-Semitism, and the destruction of Israel in a romance of blood, death and revolution. Garbage collection on Wednesdays.

Everyone is lamenting the fall of Fatah and the marginalization of its leader Mahmoud Abbas. This is ridiculous. The election exposed what everyone knew and would not admit: Abbas has no constituency. Would it have been better to keep funneling billions of dollars from the EU and a gullible U.S. to the thoroughly corrupt administration of a hapless figurehead? Billions that either end up in Swiss bank accounts or subsidize countless gangs of young men carrying guns?

The current nostalgia for Fatah moderation is absurd. What moderation? Yasser Arafat's 1993 paper recognition of Israel's right to exist was as fraudulent as his famous Oslo side letter renouncing terrorism. He spent the next seven years clandestinely sponsoring terror, then openly launched a four-year terror war, the most vicious in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

With this election, we can no longer hide from the truth: After 60 years, the Palestinian people continue to reject the right of a Jewish state to exist side-by-side with them. Fatah -- secular, worldly and wise -- learned to lie to the West and pretend otherwise. Hamas -- less sophisticated, more literal and more bound by religious obligation to expel the Jews -- is simply more honest.

This election was truth in advertising. Now we know. What to do?

The world must impress upon the Palestinians that there are consequences for their choices. And so long as they choose rejectionism -- the source of a 60-year conflict the Israelis have long been ready to resolve -- the world will not continue to support and subsidize them.

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Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.

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