Winning: Going Through The Motions For Hamas

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November 16, 2014: In August 2014 Hamas declared victory at the end of another war (lasting 50 days) with Israel. It's traditional in the Arab world that, if you fight Israel and still have possession of your capital at the end of hostilities, you can declare that the Arabs won. No matter how many battles your troops lost, if you can still issue a press release declaring victory after the shooting stops, it counts as a win. Apparently the reasoning is that because the Israelis had the ability to utterly crush you, but were stopped by steely Arab resolve, it was an Arab victory. This particular charade is growing threadbare with over-use, and this time around, even many Arabs are openly disappointed with the Hamas "defeat" (or "lack of victory.")

Even Hamas leaders noted, and commented on, the lukewarm support they received during and after the 60 day 2014 war. Even the Palestinians in the West Bank were not eager to support, or join, Hamas in fighting Israel. The West Bank politicians and the Arab media in general said all the usual, and politically correct things during the war, but it was obvious that even the Arab media was just going through the motions. That was pretty clear when you looked at the letters to the editor, which were often critical of Hamas and dubious of any Hamas victory claims.

When Hamas called for billions in cash from Western and Arab donors the response was not as generous as Hamas expected, and along with donations came strings meant to prevent Hamas from diverting aid money to military projects (which Hamas promised not to do in the ceasefire agreement they signed to end the fighting) or into foreign bank accounts where corrupt officials hide the money they steal. Egypt and Israel, which rarely agree on anything, both closed the legal crossings into Gaza because Hamas was bragging about how it was going to use some of the reconstruction materials for military purposes. Hamas also expressed support for Islamic terrorism in general and that angered the Egyptians who are losing soldiers and police to Islamic terrorists based in Gaza.

Arab critics of Hamas (and Palestinian politicians in general) point out that Palestinian leaders expend a lot of energy on avoiding reality and expect the West and the wealthy Arab oil states to subsidize this fantasy. That approach is now being openly denounced in the donor states and, as if on cue, the Palestinian leaders are ignoring the criticism.

 

 


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