Jun 15, 2008 2:41 pm


To read the Gaza reporting by NYT's Ethan Bronner or FT's Tobias Buck, one would have to conclude that all's well in Hamas ruled Gaza. It is true that the people are poorer and more miserable than ever. But, what the heck, they can and should continue to take it until Israel relents, admits it's creation was a mistake and disappears. Blind American Jacksonians may not understand it, explains Walter Russell Mead in the July/August issue of Foreign Affairs, but the rise of Hamas represent a major Palestinian achievement. He writes:

Ironically, some of the greatest military and political successes of the Palestinian movement - developing an active armed resistance, winning (largely rhetorical) support from organizations such as the Arab League and even the General Assembly of the United Nations, shifting the basis of Palestinian resistance from secular nationalism to religion, and winning support from powerful regional states such as Saddam's Iraq and Iran today - have ended up strengthening and deepening American gentile support for the Jewish state.

Not to worry. Ethan Bronner is no blind American Jacksonian. He fully appreciates and properly values the Iranians supported rule of Hamas in Gaza. He demonstrates it by giving the last word to Hamas supporter, Noha Abu Ramadan:

“Israel is trying to pressure us to make us forget that the real problem is the occupation,” she said. “Hamas was elected like any government and never given the chance to govern. Life is hard here but it has never exactly been perfect. We can take it. The Koran teaches that in the end we will be victorious.”

Properly sophisticated Tobias Buck, also offers a quote along similar lines:

Jaber Wishah, deputy director of the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights, says the population could easily survive another year of Hamas rule and Israeli sanctions. “We suffer a lot,” he says. “But the real miracle is that we are able to suffer even more.”

Tobias goes further, he assures his readers"there are no signs it(Hamas) is losing its popular appeal." Of course, both Hamas proponents provide their full name. On the surface DPA report that the first anniversary of Hamas Gaza takeover passed silently seems to bolster Bronner's and Buck's case. EXCEPT that to achieve that"silence," Sahil Nagpal reports, Hamas had to resort to the kind of tactics the Burmese junta deploys against demonstrating Budhist monks.

"When I was coming from Khan Younis town, I noticed heavy deployment of Hamas police forces with riot gear all the way up to Gaza City," Suzan Aabed said Saturday.

The 25-year-old who works in the private sector in Gaza City and travels there from the southern Strip town of Khan Younis everyday, said she thought the deployment was meant to maintain security for high school students starting final exams.

But soon, she realized that Saturday marks the first anniversary of the takeover of the Gaza Strip by the militant Islamic Hamas movement.

"When they deployed to provide security for the students a few days ago, they were not wearing helmets and flack jackets and holding sticks," Aabed said. . . .

On her half-hour trip to Gaza City on Saturday, Aabed saw many Hamas police checkpoints along Saladin road - which extends across the Strip. . . .

Islam Shahwan, a spokesman for Hamas police, said"there was a decision to ban any activity" to protest Hamas' June 2007 takeover.

The ban was necessary even though Hamas opponents are too terrified to act.

A member of the pro-Abbas forces, who now receives his salary from Ramallah without going to work under Hamas command, says he will not mark the" coup" anniversary for fear that Hamas will"again do what it did last November."

The 21-year-old, who asked that his name be withheld, was referring to the death of 11 Fatah supporters in an attack by Hamas forces on an event to mark the third anniversary of the death of former Palestinian president Yasser Arafat.

He and his friends had initially planned to express their views by wearing black cloths and raising black flags from their windows on Saturday but changed their minds.

"We became afraid after the detention of some Fatah leaders who also planned to do the same . . .

In other words, terrorists rule through terror and, like in Iraq, people are getting fed up.

Jihad Hamad, a Palestinian academician and analyst admitted that the popularity of Hamas movement had declined through the year of taking control of Gaza, saying it was"because of its harsh policy of arrests and repressions against those who are not affiliated with the movement."

Al also notes a marked decline in the popularity of Hamas:

Faris, a college graduate in Gaza agreed."I regret voting for Hamas because they made a lot of promises during the campaign but didn't deliver any of their promises," he said.

A poll by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) have showed a decline in the popularity of Hamas and its leaders.

Be that as it may, MSM and the American liberal/leftist foreign policy elite will continue to stand by Hamas."It is entirely possible that over time," Walter Russell Mead speculates,"evangelical and fundamentalist Americans will retrace Jimmy Carter's steps from a youthful Zionism to what he would call a more balanced position now."

In the meantime, it is the role of MSM to do its utmost to strengthen the hands of Hamas so that it's leaders will not soften their hearts and take pity of the poor, terrorized Palestinians under their control.

Why? Because if they do they will disprove the basic liberal/leftist assumption that tyrants can only be appeased not broken. Jacksonians, read bitter folk clinging to their religion and guns, refuse to buy into that assumption. Unfortunately, democracy gives those clueless Jacksonians the vote. Hence, it is the role of the"enlightened media" to help promote that assumption by downplaying or even ignoring information which undermines it and emphasizing information which undergirds it. In the case of Gaza, that means touting the strength and popularity of Hamas in Gaza to convince reluctant elected officials that they have no choice but negotiate with it.

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art eckstein - 6/20/2008

In contrast to Omar Ibrahim's fact-less spews of venom, here's an important and fact-filled article about the Hamas Charter. Read the quotations from that Charter, and weep at the barbarism:

A manifesto for murder
By Daniel Jonah Goldhagen
Los Angeles Times
February 5, 2006

MUCH HAS been said about the Hamas charter's call for the destruction of Israel and the need for Hamas to renounce this goal as the condition for being granted international legitimacy, economic aid and diplomatic recognition.

But an examination of the charter (available at ) reveals that Hamas, also known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, is not just dedicated (however wrongly or murderously) to the destruction of Israel. It shows Hamas to be governed by a Nazi-like genocidal orientation to Jews in general.

It would be no surprise if a self-styled Palestinian liberation movement depicted Israel in unflattering or even (if we indulge the movement some license to exaggerate) venomous terms. Yet Hamas' 9,000-word charter of 1988 — repeatedly reconfirmed by its leaders — pits Jews, Israelis and Zionists (used pretty much interchangeably in the charter) in Manichaean conflict, not just with Palestinians, but with Islam, which to Hamas is synonymous with all goodness.

"Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims," Article 28 of the charter says. This otherwise stunning statement is not surprising, given that Hamas describes Jews and Israel as a cosmic evil. Almost mimicking Nazi textbooks, Hamas contends that Zionism does "not hesitate to take any road, or to pursue all despicable and repulsive means to fulfill its desires." And what are those desires? "To demolish societies, to destroy values, to wreck answerableness, to totter virtues and to wipe out Islam. It stands behind the diffusion of drugs and toxics of all kinds in order to facilitate its control and expansion." (Article 28)

Hamas sees Jews as extremely malevolent and also extremely powerful, capable of achieving their desires. In a hallucinatory anti-Semitic passage recalling the most extreme Nazi ideologues, the charter asserts that the Jews amassed wealth that permitted them to "take over control of the world media such as news agencies, the press, publication houses, broadcasting and the like. [They also used this] wealth to stir revolutions in various parts of the globe in order to fulfill their interests and pick the fruits. They stood behind the French AND the Communist Revolutions." (Article 22)

Pursuing this hallucinatory reverie (among the clandestine organizations the Jews allegedly use to take over the world, "Rotary Clubs" are highlighted), Hamas' charter then describes Jewish power and malevolence as still more sinister: The Jews "used the money to take over control of the Imperialist states and made them colonize many countries in order to exploit the wealth of those countries and spread their corruption therein…. They stood behind World War I, so as to wipe out the Islamic Caliphate …. They obtained the Balfour Declaration and established the League of Nations in order to rule the world by means of that organization. They also stood behind World War II, where they collected immense benefits from trading with war materials and prepared for the establishment of their state."

As if this wild, anti-Semitic litany, which includes Jews establishing the United Nations as part of their plan for world domination, is insufficient, Hamas declares that "there was no war that broke out ANYWHERE without their fingerprints on it." (Article 22)

With how much power will the Jews be satisfied? According to Hamas, "Zionist scheming has no end, and after Palestine they will covet expansion from the Nile to the Euphrates. Only when they have completed digesting the area on which they will have laid their hand, they will look forward to more expansion, etc. Their scheme has been laid out in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion." (Article 32).

The "Protocols", as is well known, is a fraud concocted by the Tsarist secret police. A display of them graced the grand opening of the new Library at Alexandria a couple of years ago. The Greeks who founded the Library 2,300 years ago would weep.

Faced with this demonic enemy, Hamas is determined to rouse the Islamic world to act in the only manner adequate to the danger. Negotiation, compromise, any permanent modus vivendi with Israel and Jews (Jews' very existence in Israel is deemed an affront against Islam), is not thinkable. Jihad and destruction is. Proclaiming every inch of Palestine, including all of Israel, to be Palestinian and Islamic, and in accord with its demonic view of Jews, the charter declares, "[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement."

Why? Because "renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion; the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its faith, the movement educates its members to adhere to its principles and to raise the banner of Allah over their homeland as they fight their Jihad." (Article 13)

So what is left for Hamas and all Muslims to do? Despite Hamas' pro-forma statement that "humane" Hamas will tolerate Jews and Christians only under the impossible condition that they live under Islamic fundamentalist domination (Article 31), the genocidal logic of Hamas' foundational document is explicit: "Hamas has been looking forward to [implementing] Allah's promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! This will not apply to the Gharqad, which is a Jewish tree." (Article 7)

This is no selective reading of Hamas' charter, as the extensive quotations indicate. The charter's almost classically Nazi accounts of Jews and its annihilative reveries form the core of Hamas' uncompromising and divinely ordained canonical version of the Declaration of Independence.

As a lifelong student of Nazism and its radical murderousness, I have always been extremely reluctant to use the epithet "Nazi" for other reprehensible, anti-Semitic or genocidal movements. Whatever the other differences, the anti-Semitism and the murderous logic that form the principal content and rhetorical structure and substructure of this charter and this political party are unmistakably Nazi-like with regard to Jews.

Imagine if a territory or country next to the United States, Germany, France or Britain were governed by a political party that had repeatedly terrorized and murdered citizens of its neighbor, and had issued a governing charter about Americans, Germans, French or Britons that described the people of that country as Hamas describes Jews — calling not only for that country's destruction but also for the mass murder of its people.

Would people in that country accept the threatening political party as a fit partner in peace? Would people say that a political party harboring such profoundly irrational beliefs, fomenting such uncompromising hatred and speaking the language of mass murder should receive international aid that could only further its hold on power and facilitate its murderous intentions?

Hamas' charter should not be dismissed as just words, and all that it contains would not be nullified even if Hamas, under pressure, renounced its goal to destroy Israel. (So far, Hamas has adamantly defended its genocidal charter.)

Seldom in the modern world has a political party enshrined such hallucinatory hatred and overt murderousness against another people in its constitution, and more seldom still has such a party taken power. The Nazi Party Program of 1920 also contained much anti-Semitism, but compared to Hamas' charter, its demonology and prescriptions were tame. Given the extreme political costs of such speech, governments, political parties and political leaders rarely speak the language of annihilation openly. So when they do, we should take them at their word. The last 100 years have shown that those expressing murderous dreams, like Hitler, mean it.

DANIEL JONAH GOLDHAGEN is the author of "Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust."

omar ibrahim baker - 6/20/2008

I understand from your post above that you never DID protest either; correct me if I am wrong!

What Israel does is totally consistent with its organic and spiritual/cultural nature and mode of birth; any reference made to its practices is to demonstrate its hypocracy and racism...and is to belie its claims and pretensions.

Not that anything else was ever expected out of it!

N. Friedman - 6/19/2008


Again, you confuse your opinions with facts. The fact is that HAMAS took over Gaza. Mr. Ewener chose to ignore the fact that, while HAMAS won the election, it did not control the presidency - which was not, at that point, up for a vote - and that in a democracy, not having all the levers of power means sharing power. The fact is that the parties came to blows. And the fact is that the HAMAS, like the barbarous gang of thugs it is, threw its opponents out of windows.

Check my facts. They are verifiable. Yours, frankly, are not.

You say that the Palestinian side should be excused for its barbarism since it is at war. But, that argument cuts both ways. That means, by your logic, the Israelis can be excused from their excesses. Why? The same reason you assert.

omar ibrahim baker - 6/18/2008

The facts, for those interested in facts, are in:” Whose "takeover"? by Jeffery Ewener (June 16, 2008 at 10:10 AM)" above.

However the real absurdity of Klinghoffer's post is that she makes a vital issue of "Civil Rights" in a location at war and under siege by its mortal enemy, outside, and is also riddled by the "political” favourites of that same enemy inside!

Here, once again, we have proof positive that terms and concepts such as "democracy” and "civil rights" etc when used by the USA and/or Israel , outside their immediate racist domains, are NOT ONLY totally void and meaningless but are TOOLS of expediency used to fight their enemies with.

***Did Klinhoffer ever protest the fact that those areas with a vast number of ethnically uncleansed Palestinian Arabs, in Northern Palestine, that fell under Israeli occupation in 1948 were subjected to Israeli military rule from 1948 to 1966??
Did she. or fellow Zionist Friedman, ever protest that??

**Did she or fellow traveler Friedman ever protest the incarceration of US citizens of Japanese descent during WW II??

If they did during or later I would like to know about it!

N. Friedman - 6/16/2008

Mr. Ewener,

You provide some contrary facts but do not go far enough with your examination of the facts. Were you to do so, you would note that HAMAS did not merely put down the attempt of the Fatah to undermine HAMAS rule, HAMAS also kicked the Fatah out. That is called a coup.

I should add. It was a particularly brutal affair, with people thrown out of windows.

And, even if the HAMAS had not gained total power in Gaza by means of a coup, people all over the world have very good reason to oppose and isolate the HAMAS. Read the group's sacred covenant. HAMAS deserves no support from anyone, whether or not it won an election. It is the only group in the world which, at present, has a covenant which openly advocates genocide.

Or, is your view that elections - even one which brings genocidists to power - are sacred?

Jeffery Ewener - 6/16/2008

There was no "Hamas Gaza takeover" a year ago. Hamas was elected to power over the entire Palestinian Authority -- Gaza and the West Bank -- in what international observers called the freest elections ever held in the region outside of Israel. Hamas won solid majorities of the popular vote in both territories.

What happened a year ago was that elements in Fatah -- the party that lost the election -- tried to seize power in a violent coup, and failed, leaving Hamas in power in Gaza, but giving their party the opportunity to engineer a putsch in the West Bank. If you want a telegraphese description of what really happened, then, a "Fatah West Bank takeover" would be more accurate.

Notoriously, the United States government didn't expect Hamas to win the elections and was mightily displeased when it did. There have been rumours that the US backed the attempted Fatah coup, but rumours are the region's chief export, so who knows.

What is certain is that the US has never reconciled itself to the results of the election (which it had, before the fact, promoted as opening a brave new chapter in Middle East democracy), and it has been the driving force behind the campaign to punish the people of Gaza for having had the temerity to vote for the wrong party. It's not clear why the people of Gaza would blame Hamas for what is obviously the ultimate responsibility of the United States.

Certainly the US can make the "choice" to continue with this savage and pointless assault on a destitute population, but it's not a choice one would hope for from a nation that claims to believe in values like democracy, liberty, equality of opportunity, fair dealing, respect for the law, and simple common decency.