Palestinian Election's Impact

Palestinian supporters of the Hamas celebrate their victory in parliamentary elections in West Bank City of Nablus Thursday Jan. 26, 2006. The Islamic Hamas won a huge majority in parliamentary elections as Palestinian voters rejected the longtime rule of the Fatah Party, throwing the future of Mideast peacemaking into question, officials from both major parties said Thursday. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
Well it wasn't quite "Dewey Beats Truman," but news from the Palestinian elections sure changed overnight.

Before I went to bed, most of this morning's newspapers focused on Hamas strong showing and questioned just how much power to grant Hamas when a new government is formed.

Well Hamas cleaned up. And maybe we really shouldn't be surprised — Fatah has down a lousy job. Palestinians live with ultra high crime rates, super high jobless rates and a basic lack of services. Fatah is the ultimate example of bad government. On the other hand — Hamas — they of the charter which demands the destruction of Israel, also feeds people, they run schools.

We assume the election was a repudiation of Fatah, a referendum if you will, on how bad things are. But what if the vote is more than that? What if the Palestinians are voting not just for food but for guns? Then the road to peace is closed.

Pray that isn't so.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.
By Harry Smith