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Why Do Palestinians in Gaza Support Hamas?

Society & Culture  (tags: Israel, Palestinians, Gaza, Islamic State, world, society, culture, freedoms, human rights, politics, government, society )

- 1803 days ago -
Unlike the Islamic State and other Islamist groups that lack local anchorage and are based on obsolete ideologies, Hamas has evolved into a political movement deeply rooted in Gaza.


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jan b (5)
Friday August 8, 2014, 3:45 pm
Hamas supplied the Palestinians some carrots initially in order to use the stick against Israel. It wasn't difficult for Palestine to freely elect Hamas whose Charter focuses on destroying Israel.
I just want to remind good folks that these middle eastern countries hate the Americans but hate jews more. It's not only the videos we saw of Palestine and other countries celebrating on 911. but celebrating on the anniversary of 911 - : Remember What Happened. WHO DID ...

Sep 11, 2011 ... It's amazing, but no surprise, that–ten years after the 9/11 Muslim ..... on that day where muslims mainly in the middle east were celebrating .. .

Rose Becke (141)
Friday August 8, 2014, 8:07 pm
Well said Ros

Evelyn B (63)
Saturday August 9, 2014, 1:26 am
Thanks for posting this good Haaretz article, Carrie - I'll share it on.

Israelis also danced over 9/11, jan b. - and were arrested for it (in the US).
And promoting the idea that the people in the Middle East hate Americans but hate Jews more is just hate talk ...
because it is a generalisation, not truth.
People hate American policies concerning the ME, and they particularly hate apparently unconditional US support for pro-Zionist policies of the State of Israel. Yes .... but that is not hate for Americans nor hate for all Jews (nor even hate for all Israelis). They hate the injustice meted out on them by the Israeli government. Many hate the armed extremists settlers who come on their land, grab their land, cut down their trees, aggress them, and those who miss no opportunity to insult them. Many hate the administration that manipulates their documentation about land ownership - and uses this to grab their land to build well equipped settlements within the Occupied Territories. Understandable, no? But the first people to emphasise strongly the difference between the representatives of oppression and the people as a whole are the Palestinians. Those Israeli Jews (and other Jews) who make the effort to go unarmed, in peace, to talk with Palestinian communities know that the Palestinians - at least an extremely large majority - do not hate Jews as a category, nor even hate all Israeli Jews.

Do you genuinely hate all Palestinians, all Arabs, all Muslims, jan b.? Maybe even you can see that there are exceptions ... despite your fears and your inculcated distrust of them as a group? Although your exceptions are perhaps based on individuals you have met ...Palestinians grow up differentiating between political categries and whole populations ... and they teach others to see the difference.

"“The differences between the party’s platform and the Islamic Charter [of Hamas]”, in Menachem Klein’s words, “do not represent an attempt at deception or the empty and unconsidered use of words. They are a product of a change and modification of lines of thought as a part of the process by which Hamas has become a political movement.” "
The 1988 Hamas Charter that many pro-Zionists & many Islamophobes love to refer to as proof of Hamas' hate for all Jews has been superseded by later position documents of Hamas. Sheikh Yassin himself stressed that he did not hate all Jews, but only those who dispossessed his people (it's on youtube).

Ros - good comparison. Also - the leaders of Irgun & Stern Gang, classified as terrorist groups, became prime ministers of Israel ...

Sheryl G (359)
Saturday August 9, 2014, 10:01 am
I can't read full article as it states I'm not a subscriber. However I did see this one line.

But while most of the commentary is focusing on the Palestinians’ responsibilities for the election of Hamas in 2006 (it’s worth noting that over 53 percent of the population in the Gaza Strip is now under 18 years...

therefore could not vote but are being killed just the same.....

Ros you are spot on with your comment.

Carrie B (306)
Saturday August 9, 2014, 1:01 pm
Sorry, I forgot.


The carnage witnessed in these last few days in the Gaza Strip carries with it a major lesson: Instead of turning Palestinians against Hamas, the Gaza blockade makes them more dependent on the group. But while most of the commentary is focusing on the Palestinians’ responsibilities for the election of Hamas in 2006 (it’s worth noting that over 53 percent of the population in the Gaza Strip is now under 18 years of age and thus didn’t vote), on Egypt’s role, or on analyzing who started this new round of violence, very few are concentrating on the historical roots of this tragedy.

The population in the Gaza Strip is mainly composed by families of Palestinian refugees. Many of them were expelled in 1948 from Najd, Al-Jura and Al-Majdal, present-day Or Haner, Sderot and Ashkelon (a city of Canaanite origins, that included, until 1948, al-Majdal). These villages were razed to the ground by the Israel Defense Forces to prevent the return of their inhabitants. The latters were transferred by bus to the camps and the cities that form the present-day Gaza Strip.

In the years to follow, several cases occurred in which refugees, or “infiltrators,” crossed the armistice lines to collect possessions and pick up unharvested crops, or to raid Israeli settlements adjacent to the Strip. In that phase, a number of Israeli fatalities occurred and, in historian Benny Morris’ words, “Israel’s defensive anti-infiltration measures resulted in the death of several thousand mostly unarmed Arabs during 1949-56.”

Despite the anger and fears connected to its tragic past, the population in the Gaza Strip remained largely apolitical and very hesitant toward the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood, the precursor of Hamas.

The first local branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, already at the time composed by different factions, was established in Jerusalem in 1946. Its first representatives, however, arrived from Egypt in 1936 with the aim of encouraging the Palestinians in their struggle against the British strategy for the region and Jewish immigration.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Brotherhood weakened due to the harsh repression carried out by Egyptian President Gamal Nasser. After the Six-Day War of 1967, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) shifted increasingly toward violence and terrorism, a strategy that Hamas’s precursors did not embrace.

They chose instead to focus on social and cultural activities – benefiting for this from the tolerance of the Israeli authorities, which regarded them as a counterbalance to the main enemy, the PLO – in an environment that was increasingly turning toward religion. Between 1967 and 1987, the year in which Hamas was founded, two decades after the beginning of the Israeli occupation, the number of mosques in Gaza tripled from 200 to 600.

Hamas was created in 1987 during the outbreak of the first intifada. Its founder, the Al-Jura-born Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, established its movement out of the largely dormant Brotherhood’s Gaza branch and with the aim of assuming a driving role in the revolt of 1987.

The organization carried out its first attack against Israel in 1989, killing two soldiers. Sheikh Yassin was sentenced to life in prison and 400 Hamas activists were deported to the Israeli-occupied South Lebanon, where Hezbollah and Hamas established their ties.

Iz al-Din al-Qassam, Hamas’s military branch, was established in 1991. Two years later, they started to carry out terrorist attacks in the West Bank, and from April 1994 – two months after the massacre perpetrated by Baruch Goldstein in a mosque at the Tomb of the Patriarchs – they began their suicide bombings inside Israel. Anti-Semitic statements by several Hamas members and clerics, similar to those included in the Hamas Charter of 1988, since then became increasingly common.

In March 2004, Sheikh Yassin was killed by an Israeli missile strike. Hamas survived and began to participate in the electoral process, gaining increasing support among the local population, mainly thanks to its social activities and the effects of the Israeli occupation.

Following Hamas’ victory in the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections, Ismail Haniyeh, the newly elected prime minister, sent a dispatch to U.S. President George W. Bush, asking to be recognized and offering a long-term truce with Israel and the establishment of a border on the lines of 1967. His message, as a similar one sent to the Israeli authorities, remained unanswered. A similar destiny was reserved in the same months for the Arab League's peace initiative.

As in the case of the Likud Charter of 1999 (whose main principles, including the rejection of a Palestinian state, have never been retracted), also Hamas was still far from being ready to recognize the State of Israel, but was willing to adopt a pragmatic approach.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's decision to respond to Hamas’ takeover of Gaza with a blockade played into the hands of the organization’s military wing. Furthermore, the failure of Hamas’ political wing to remove the Israeli closure undermined any attempt to explore pragmatic solutions.

“The differences between the party’s platform and the Islamic Charter [of Hamas]”, in Menachem Klein’s words, “do not represent an attempt at deception or the empty and unconsidered use of words. They are a product of a change and modification of lines of thought as a part of the process by which Hamas has become a political movement.”

Hamas’ pragmatic evolution could be seen also in the phase following the implementation of the Egypt-brokered cease-fire of 2012, that was supposed to end or significantly ease the closure of Gaza and to guarantee Israel’s security needs. During the three months after the agreement, only one attack (two mortar shells) occurred. In the same period, Gaza suffered regular incursions and the local population, as recorded by the Israeli NGO Gisha, was once again prevented from conducting a normal existence.

The point of dredging up this complex history is not to deny Hamas' responsibility for its actions: Its rockets threatening Israeli cities are immoral and counterproductive. Furthermore, several Hamas leaders and sympathizers have often focused on opposing Israel on principle, rather than in ameliorating the conditions of the Palestinian people.

Finally, Hamas has frequently misdirected the Palestinian cause from one where Palestinians demand their legitimate right to a state, or at least to full rights (full citizenship), to an inter-Palestinian quarrel between Hamas and Fatah, or a Gaza-Egypt dispute over the Rafah crossing.

But Hamas’ responsibilities cannot be detached from its context and from the role played by Israel in the entire process. Contrary to the Islamic State (formerly ISIS) and other similar groups, devoid of deep anchorages in the local societies and based on obsolete ideologies, Palestinian factions are firmly rooted in the history of their land. They are the product of some wrong decisions, but also, if not especially, of a century of suffering, oppression, and a long-standing quest for self-determination.

Any solution that will not address each of these issues is doomed to fail.

Kathleen M (208)
Saturday August 9, 2014, 8:26 pm
Noted. Thanks again, Carrie. Wish we could erect billboards, distribute written materials, somehow force MSM to practice real journalism as opposed to propaganda. Blessings...

Lona G (66)
Saturday August 9, 2014, 11:45 pm
Thanks for another article (and text ;-) ) to contemplate, starting with 53% of the Gza population not having voted for Hamas but are made to suffer for it nevertheless. And who, after the continuing carnage, no doubt will vote for Hamas next time. Both Israel and the US excel in creating their own worst enemies.

Arild Warud (174)
Sunday August 10, 2014, 4:53 am
I believe the simple answer is that they are fed up by being fenced in.Gaza is per date a de facto Consentrationcamp.

Parsifal S (96)
Sunday August 10, 2014, 6:36 am

just came in - might be helpful in one or the other way:

UN’s Ban Ki-moon is a partner in Israel’s crimes. This open letter signed by 129 organizations and distinguished individuals was sent to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 5 August...

Angelika K (96)
Sunday August 10, 2014, 1:44 pm
Noted,Thank you

Shirley S (187)
Monday August 11, 2014, 8:30 pm

Donna B (104)
Tuesday August 12, 2014, 5:21 am
Thank you Carrie for posting and Evelyn for sharing Noted

Henriette Matthijssen (154)
Tuesday August 12, 2014, 11:14 am
Palestinians have the same rights as what Israhell has, we are all born with the same human rights! What is happening is criminal & time for the rest of the world population to see this, we are one humanity! Thanks Carrie!

Bruce C D (89)
Saturday August 16, 2014, 8:24 pm
This was a fairly objective overview of Hamas. One salient point omitted is how Israel played a key role in the creation of Hamas. Another salient point omitted was that many Palestinians voted for Hamas in response to widespread corruption in Fatah, with the hope of obtaining a more responsive government and better services.

Hamas militancy, along with its hard line and rhetoric towards Israel, have done far more harm to the Palestinian cause vis-à-vis Israel and gaining justice, and it has been a divisive force over a period of time when the need for Palestinian unity has been critical. And, of course, they rightly deserve condemnation (as does likewise Israel) for insufficiently valuing the lives of civilians. Then there is disregard for the human- and civil-rights of its Palestinian opposition. Also, while Hamas may not be as religiously extreme as ISIS or al-Qaeda and some of its affiliates, it is nevertheless troubling. Despite all of those things, I recognize that Hamas isn't all bad, and I think they are too often overly vilified. An excellent objective book on this group I recommend is, "Hamas: A History from Within," by Azzam Tamimi.
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