Blawgletter has a question:

Who has the lawful right to govern the Gaza Strip?

Leave to one side, please, the sheer hypotheticality of the notion that anybody actually does govern the Gaza Strip.  Who’s got the right to do it?

Some of the salient facts, as we understand them:

  • The United States, Canada, Israel, Japan, and the European Union designate Hamas a terrorist organization because it, among other things, kills and maims innocent people in the name of Islamist hegemony.
  • In 2005, Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of Fatah, wins election as President of the Palestinian Authority, which governs the Palestinian Territories on the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
  • In early 2006, Hamas wins a majority of seats in parliamentary elections and thus entitlement to name the prime minister.  The United States and Israel refuse to accept Hamas’s role in the Palestinian Authority government.
  • In spring 2007, Fatah and Hamas join in a "unity" government with Saudi support.
  • During June 2007, Hamas militarily defeats Fatah and takes over de facto control of the Gaza Strip.
  • President Abbas dissolves the unity government and forms a new one that excludes Hamas.
  • Hamas denounces the new government.
  • The United States, Israel, and — to a lesser extent — the European Union recognize President Abbas as the legitimate leader of the Palestinian Authority and his government as the rightful ruler of the Palestinian areas in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Does Hamas now have any legimate claim to the right to govern?  In particular, has its military conquest of the Gaza Strip forfeited its democratic election in 2006 and made it a complete renegade under international law?

Any help out there?

Barry Barnett

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