World leaders should wait to see what Hamas will do, now that it has won the Palestinian elections, a local terrorism expert said Thursday.
"The United States, Israel and the Europeans all regard Hamas as a terrorist organization, said Donald R. Hamilton, executive director of the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. "What will likely happen, and probably what should happen, is everyone should just stop, take a deep breath and see what they do.
"If Hamas continues to sponsor terrorist acts, to endorse them, then there is virtually no prospect of continuing along the already smudged and wrinkled road map to peace in the Middle East.
Hamas shocked the world with its victory over the governing Fatah faction in Wednesday's elections.
"This is a stunning course of events, Rep. John Sullivan, R-Tulsa, said in a written statement Thursday. "Yesterday, the Fatah party was leading in the polls, and today, there is a terrorist organization in power.
Sullivan said he will oppose sending taxpayer money to the Palestinians who received about $275 million in U.S. aid last year if Hamas does not change its stance advocating the destruction of Israel.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, a strong supporter of Israel, said he refers to Hamas as "the Salvation Army with loaded guns, because it has done "some good things, even as a terrorist group.
For now, he said, the new government is in its infancy and the United States has gone "so far out on a limb to urge democratic elections there that it can't simply dismiss the results.
"I would prefer that they not have won, but I don't think it's the end of the world, Inhofe said.
Rep. Dan Boren, D Muskogee, said, "The Hamas are responsible for countless suicide bombings and attacks on innocent victims. They are not a political party, they are a terrorist organization.