I agree with the Palestinian political analyst Ghassan al Khatib's assessment regarding the impact of the new Hamas government on Palestinian society:
"The most significant and dramatic consequences of the new Hamas government are internal. Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood movement that usually prioritizes the need to change the mentality, ideology, way of thinking and way of life of individuals, communities and society at large. Hamas has always believed that the successful pursuit of national aspirations can only be undertaken once a "real Islamic society" is in place.
For those many Palestinians who are ideologically secular and/or politically in favor of a solution based on two states in accordance with international legality, the political consequences of the Hamas government are not the main problem. An anti-peace process government in Israel has been firmly in place for the past several years, so there is nothing to lose on that front. What is at stake is the shape and direction of Palestinian society.
That fear is only magnified by the fact that all non-Palestinian anti-Hamas forces are concerned primarily with the security issue. This in turn gives Hamas the leverage to make a trade-off whereby it gives concessions on security and politics in order to have free reign on the social agenda."
But I think al Khatib's language reveals another, yet related, problem: note how he opposes the "political" to the "social." The Islamists are the only ones who seem to think of the "political" in a comprehensive way. For them, the woman's question or the kind of education you have or TV shows you make are political questions and they do give them the priority they deserve. Other groups define the "political" more narrowly; it's what relates to "governing." They relegate issues like women's rights, "mentalities," and life style to the "social" and therefore, less pressing. As a consequence, the Islamists have a free reign to talk "cultural politics" because the others are busy with "politics" as usual.