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"Palestinian Support for Hamas Has Not Declined" - Part I

JINSA Report #: 

January 26, 2009

In the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead, journalists are heavily focused on the misery of Palestinian civilians. Lo and behold, one of the great journalistic discoveries of our time seems to be that despite their misery, Palestinian "civilians" "still support Hamas." Sorry, guys. This is an old story that requires the application of two of journalism's five great questions: "Why does it happen?" and "What does it mean?"

The story of Palestinian abuse at the hands of their own requires retelling in part out of simple fairness to Israel and the Palestinians and, in part, because it has policy implications for Israel and the United States going forward.

Palestinian civilians have suffered far greater abuse by the Arab states (abetted by the UN) than by Israel. More than 60 years of propaganda, refusal to accept the creation of a Palestinian Arab state in 1948, demonization of Israel and of Jews, and inter-generational refugee status that ensured Palestinians no future, created the only refugee problem that grows geometrically over time. Only in Israel are there no Arab refugee camps. Only in Israel are the Arabs - displaced by the creation of Israel and the illegal occupation of Gaza and the West Bank by Egypt and Jordan respectively - full citizens with a vote in a democratic parliament. (West Bank Palestinians were not full citizens of Jordan at the time of their acquisition by Israel in the defensive war of 1967.)

Add to this, the corrupt, violent and radical Palestinian leadership of Fatah and Hamas.

Fatah, supposedly moderate, pioneered suicide bombings. It was Fatah "security forces" that bludgeoned two Israeli soldiers to death, threw their bodies out a second story window and held up their bloody hands in triumph. Fatah executes "collaborators"; Palestinians who work with Israel. A Fatah sniper killed the infant Shalhevet Pass in her father's arms. Fatah built a shrine to the Sbarro pizza parlor bombing and had viewers trample an Israeli flag on the way into the exhibition. Fatah TV said Israelis put Palestinian children in ovens. Fatah was so financially and politically corrupt that given a chance, Palestinian voters chose Hamas - violent and religiously fundamentalist, but then considered relatively clean. Corruption however, particularly moral corruption, is relative.

So yes, Hamas was elected once, but so were Hugo Chavez, Robert Mugabe, the ayatollahs and Hitler. A single election, followed by the bloody ouster of Fatah from Gaza; despotic rule, including imprisonment and assassination for the insufficiently enthusiastic; propaganda and demonization particularly aimed at children (Hamas TV told children Israeli soldiers ate Mickey Mouse but Hamas would make Israel pay); creation of child-soldiers in violation of international law (their pictures once covered the Hamas website but they've since been removed); control of food, jobs, electricity and medicine by the regime to reward its supporters and deny its foes.

Read deep into the stories of Palestinian suffering in Gaza and you find people who knew - and told journalists - that they lived next to Hamas rocket launchers, that there were smuggling tunnels in their basements, that mosques and UNRWA schools were armories and hiding places. That they were human shields and knew it. What were they supposed to do? Complain?

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