Hamas Reborn

13 03 2009

Hamas on the WallIt seems that Hamas has become more of hero than a demon after Operation Cast Lead. A recent poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, published on March 9th, shows that more Gazans support Hamas today than they did three months ago. That puts the faction in a much better position against its rival Fatah, especially as reconciliation talks are taking place for a unity government.

The results indicate that 47% of the 1,270 people polled face-to-face support Hamas’s leader, Ismail Haniya, while 42% support his more moderate Fatah opponent, Mahmoud Abbas. Three months ago, Haniya lagged behind Abbas, 38% to 48% respectively.

So what happened? Why is Hamas becoming more popular instead of less?

Well, the most recent war was simply too devastating for Gazans to see anyone but Israel as the real wrong-doer here. If the poll is truly indicative of what the general population thinks, then Operation Cast Lead has backfired on Israel.  It turns out that you can easily kill Hamas members, but you have yet to kill the idea of Hamas… and ideas last much longer than people.

I connect this to another article published on February 27th, on the BBC, titled, “Despair and Rage among Gaza’s Youths,” portraying how young Gazan men are now more prone to joining Hamas and its rivals as militants and suicide bombers than before. The article reports that the “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,” one of the smaller militant factions, says the organisation has seen an in increase in the number of people volunteering to carry out suicide bombings since the conflict.”

Many of these men are poor, homeless, unemployed and have seen death one too many times. They are in despair and “disillusioned.” So are these poll results really surprising?



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