[Middle East] When Hamas made the choice to move from a terrorist group to a political party, it was clear that the costs were going to be high. Some of what they could expect were internal divisions and strife, as well as stinging criticism from Islamist communities who perceived disarmament and accountability as a blow to the Israeli occupation.
They did it anyway. In January this year, they won the election by a good margin, and began work to give the Palestinians a non-corrupt government that had the people's well-being in mind – with or without the participation of Fatah.
What they did not expect was the punitive reactions from Europe and the United States. Was it not precisely the Western world that had demanded of the Islamists that they should participate in the political process?
A few weeks after the victory, it was clear that Hamas would be met by political demands that had multiplied along the way, and an economic boycott that threatened to bankrupt Palestine. Half a year and two wars afterwards, it is equally clear that Europe's and the United States' political line in the Middle East has provoked a crisis no one today predicts the outcome of.
The demands against Hamas came in many forms. The most important thing was that the Islamists had to renounce all violence, accept earlier. . .
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