Interviewee:    Well, let me address Robert’s thesis first because I really admire him. We’re friends.  I think he’s a very good writer and journalist and I think that he’s right that, you know, when I say that people are becoming more religious, I also want to emphasize that religion itself is changing.  Religion itself is constantly evolving as it’s always been and one of the things that we’re finding is that, as globalization is creating new kinds of communities, new kinds of collective identities, religion itself is becoming even more fractured.  It’s becoming increasingly individualized interestingly enough.  You know, to put it in the crudest way possible, the world’s religions are all slowly becoming protestant.  You know, this, sort of, lack of institutional structure, this, sort of, almost militant form of Religious Individualism where it’s, you don’t need an intermediary anymore.  It’s about me and how I see my scripture.  These new communities forming beyond borders, beyond boundaries, primarily as a result of these new communication technologies for instance like the Internet.  Now, I think that Robert is being a little bit, sort of, Utopian in thinking that sometime down the road, you know, all these religions will eventually become a super religion.  One, sort of, big religion, particularly the three Abrahamic Religions, you know, “In šāʾ Allāh”, okay, that’s’ all I can say to that but, I think what we’re seeing is the exact opposite.  Religions are becoming more fractured, more individualized instead of more unified and more cohesive.  As to the first issue, we have to remember that on the eve of the elections, the US Government which had poured tens of millions of dollars into Fatah’s political campaign in order to help Fatah win these election to the point when they had actually picked out the color of the background that Abu Mazen was going to give his victory speech in front of, was completely taken by surprise by the victory of Hamas, which to this day, I don’t understand how you could possibly have been surprised by that.  I mean, you’re giving the Palestinians for the first time ever and opportunity to choose their own leaders and you’re giving them two choices, the status quo, the people who despite hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid had done absolutely nothing to create, you know, a better Palestinian environment, except for enrich themselves.

Interviewer 1:    But what does that say about Washington?

Interviewee:    Yeah!

Interviewer 1:    That they were completely blown away by this result.

Interviewee:    It says that they must be so myopic to think that, you know, when given the choice between Fatah and anyone else and in the case of Palestine, anyone else is Hamas, you know, the myopia that is involved in thinking that well obviously they’ll choose Fatah because, you know, we’re going to send American campaign advisers which we did to help Fatah run an effective campaign and it’s going to be a big American show.  I don’t get it.  I mean, it’s just the narrow-mindedness of that view.  It’s just shocking to me it says everything you need to know really about how the previous administration understood the Middle East.

Interviewer 1:    Yeah.