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Everybody loves the Hamas


It seems that everybody, almost, loves the Hamas and is showering it with gifts. This might be surprising, since Hamas is a genocidal, racist terrorist group which continues to be an avowed enemy of the peace process, and which took power illegally in a bloody coup. But in the Middle East, that sort of thing seems to work pretty well.

The first and greatest benefactor of the Hamas was Israel. Israel did three things that were of enormous benefit to the Hamas. The first was to drag out negotiations for a Palestinian state with the Palestinian Authority, a process in which the Palestinian Authority participated willingly as well. The second was to build more new settlement units in the West Bank with great fanfare, so as to humiliate the Palestinian Authority and give the Hamas an issue to use against it.

The third gift of Israel was the truce it concluded with Hamas. It is not clear if this was done because it was decided that there is really no military solution -- no other way to stop the rockets from raining down on Sderot or in the hope of freeing the kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, or in order to set up a permanent "obstacle to peace" in Gaza, which eliminates the need for serious negotiations with the Palestinian authority and weakens the Palestinian Authority. The intentions don't matter as much as the results, which more or less speak for themselves. The peace process is stalled, but nobody anywhere is in a hurry, Shalit is still in Gaza of course, and the Hamas is accumulating weapons and training for the next round. There is no pressure on Israel because after all, the Hamas would not sign any peace agreement anyhow. The Hamas got an extra bonus from the truce, since Israel continued its incursions into the West Bank, further humiliating the Palestinian Authority. This aspect seems to have been curtailed in recent weeks.

The Israeli truce with the Hamas seemed to signal that they are here to stay, and so Jordan hurried to make "arrangements" with them as well. At the coronation of the new king, everyone rushes to bring gifts. The Jordanian government needs another Islamist group like it needs a hole in the head, but it cannot ignore reality.

International peace activists came bearing their own gift, in a boat that broke the international blockade of the Hamas in Gaza - balloons and hearing aids. What could be more appropriate than for humanitarian peace activists to support an illegal and despotic regime that came to power by pushing its opponents off rooftops, that stands for Jihad in the violent meaning of the word and for genocide, and that stays in power by terrorizing the population of Gaza? Surely despotism, religious reaction, racism and violence are causes worthy of the support of all progressive and right thinking people! What could be more cheering and desperately needed by the hungry children. police thugs rocket makers of Gaza than nice balloons?

Now the media have come bearing their own gift. Article after article assures us that the end of the Palestinian authority is nigh, that the Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas are extremely unpopular, and that star of the Hamas is rising to an irrevocably fixed spot at the apex of the heavens. Daoud Kuttab is one of many to announce Whether anyone admits it or not, Hamas appears to have won. Actually, there is no problem of shyness or reticence or reluctance. On the contrary, the question is why everyone is rushing to claim that Hamas won, while Abbas and the Fatah are still in power in Ramallah, still have the backing of the US, and even got a shipment of guns from Israel as well as arranging the release of almost 200 prisoners, which did not even require that they kidnap anyone. Of course, such pronouncements are self-fulfilling prophecies, and the people who make them must know it is so. If Hamas has won, then everyone will hurry to the side of the winner.

If you read the media columnists, it is clear that Palestinians unanimously support Hamas, that Hamas are the "democratically elected" government of the Palestinians that came to power in a "landslide." In fact of course, Hamas did not get a majority of the popular vote, and then broke the unity agreement by staging a violent coup. And in fact, only the columnists are in love with the Hamas. Palestinians are not. Poll after poll give Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah comfortable margins of support over the Hamas in prospective elections. The most recent PSR poll shows that 43% of Palestinians support Fatah, while 29% support Hamas; 53% support Mahmoud Abbas while only 39% support Hamas's Ahmad Hanniyeh. A Near East Consulting company survey similarly found that 76% of Palestinians prefer Fatah's strategy for reaching Palestinian goals, while only 24% prefer that of Hamas.

Now the doctors and school teachers of Gaza are on strike against the Hamas, and the Hamas government is doing everything in its power - and I mean everything - to break the strike. Strike breaking and scabbing are apparently honorable progressive traditions, so all the "progressive" allies of the Hamas are rallying round the red flag.

Everyone is in love with the Hamas except the Palestinians, and particularly the ones in Gaza. Perhaps it is because those Palestinians have to live under Hamas rule.

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000714.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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