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Victory Ends 40 Years of Political Domination
by noteworthy at 6:33 pm EST, Jan 26, 2006

This could be the start of something big.

The radical Islamic party Hamas scored an overwhelming victory in Wednesday's Palestinian legislative elections, taking 76 out of 132 seats, deposing the former ruling party, Fatah, which won only 43.

The preliminary results, announced tonight by the Central Election Committee, were likened by Palestinians to an earthquake or a tsunami, ending more than 40 years of political domination by Fatah, the main political faction built by the late Yasir Arafat.

The surprising results put Hamas — considered to be a terrorist group by Israel, the United States and the European Union — in charge of the Palestinian political future and brought a to efforts to restart peace talks.

In Gaza City, a waitress said she was in shock. "I'm worried about the way this victory will affect how I can dress in public, and even if it will affect where I can work," she said.

Speaking of waiting tables, you might be interested in My Week As A Waiter:

I usually spend my nights on the other side of the table, not only asking the questions and making the demands but also judging and, I concede, taking caustic little mental notes. And it's been 20 years since I walked in a waiter's shoes, something I did for only six months.

But last week I traded places and swapped perspectives, a critic joining the criticized, to get a taste of what servers go through and what we put them through, of how they see and survive us.

If they put in a full schedule of four prime shifts a week, they might make $45,000 a year before taxes. Almost all of it is from tips. They wonder if diners realize that.

"Campers" are people who linger forever at tables. "Verbal tippers" are people who offer extravagant praise in lieu of 20 percent.

"It's amazing how unadventurous people are."

"Some people are interested in having the experience of being disappointed."

Washington Post coverage is here.

"We're telling people Islam is the solution," said Radi Johar, 29, who was passing out Hamas candidate pamphlets in the dirt street outside a crowded polling station.

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