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Lawmakers wary of what comes next

Ken Raymond and Chris Casteel Published: January 27, 2006

"I'm concerned about what their control will do to the peace process, especially in light of what is happening in Iran.

Hamilton, who served part of his diplomatic career in the Middle East, said the election results don't necessarily show blanket Palestinian approval of Hamas.

"Everything I hear suggests that Fatah had become totally mired in a sea of personalism and corruption, he said, "and the outcome of this election might have had more to do with ... throwing the rascals out, rather than policy toward Israel.

In either case, this is not the first time Palestinian leadership has sparked controversy, Hamilton said.

"Early on, Yasser Arafat was persona non grata, he said. "Fatah was clearly linked to the Munich (Olympics) massacre and several other terrorist events. It was the policy of the U.S. not to recognize the PLO. ... Israel's policy was essentially the same.

Arafat gradually distanced himself from terrorism but never "walked away from promoting violence against Israel, Hamilton said.

Don't expect Hamas to renounce violence against Israel, Hamilton said at least not at first and not publicly. So what will happen?

"The first move is up to Hamas, he said.

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