Sunday, December 23, 2012

23-Dec-12: When Fatah veterans say they are Hamas at heart, it's time to rethink what we understood

Hebron, November 2012: Ostensibly under Fatah control but it's Hamas
that is orchestrating the street rallies
[Image Source: European Pressphoto Agency
A week ago, we published parts of an important essay by the Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh entitled "Palestinians: The Third Intifada Has Begun" [see "17-Dec-12: Winning friends and influencing people by waging war"]. It starts with this blunt warning:
By allowing Hamas to celebrate its 25th anniversary in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority leadership is paving the way for a third intifada against Israel. In fact, in the past few days, the third intifada has already begun...
Anyone who reads it will understand that it's now impossible to claim - as people were doing up until the last few weeks - that the allegedly 'moderate' Mahmoud Abbas regime in one of the two Palestines is a viable alternative to the radical Gaza-based Hamas terrorist regime in the other of the two Palestines.

What's increasingly obvious, even to people who don't pay such close attention, is that Hamas has the attention, the support and the loyalty of the masses in the Abbas-controlled West Bank. It appears to be only a matter of time before Hamas takes overt control.

Which means it's time for outside observers - and anyone wanting to know what's ahead - to start paying closer attention to what Khaled Meshaal, notorious arch-terrorist and the de facto leader of Hamas, has in mind for the conflict between the Palestinian Arabs and the Israelis. For a reminder, see "11-Dec-12: On screaming silence and thundering demagoguery" in which we summarize the tub-thumping, unambuguous speech Meshaal delivered to an adoring crowd in Gaza earlier this month. Also check out what the LA Times editorial said ["21-Dec-12: Los Angeles Times editorial: Meshaal's speech is outrageous, irresponsible and depressing"]

Keep Meshaal's renewed call for the violent destruction of Israel and his sworn pledge never to accept a two-state solution in mind as you view the video posted below. It comes from Israel's dominant commercial television station, Channel Two. Their news program aired a revealing report last week in which an Arabic-speaking reporter walks through the crowds at two solidarity rallies in the West Bank cities of Nablus (we know it as Shechem) and Hebron (Hevron), interviewing and filming the participants.

The rallies, taking place in the heartland of the PA, were raucous celebrations of support for... Hamas and its program of war and destruction.

The original, Hebrew-only version is online at this site. The version below (which is posted on YouTube) has English-language subtitles superimposed over the Hebrew (since much of the speaking is in Arabic). [Note: To see the English captions, open the video in YouTube - you can do that by clicking here; then click the YouTube "Captions" button which is one of the icons just below the video image.]

If you have finished viewing it, you might now want to take a look at a short piece called "I Go to Sleep Fatah and Wake Up Hamas". It's written by Dr Anat Berko and appears on the Gatestone Institute site. She's a researcher at the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism, Herzliya, Israel. Here's an extract:
Before 2007, when Hamas took over the Gaza Strip and suppressed the Fatah presence there, there was a considerable amount of back-and-forth between the organizations. On one occasion a Fatah operative in jail smiled and said he found it hard to say which organization he belonged to. "There are days," he said, "when I go to sleep Fatah and wake up Hamas..."
Last week, masses of people marched through the streets of the West Bank holding green signs with Hamas slogans, all with Fatah's blessing, and chanting, "death to the Jews," and "death to Israel." As one veteran Fatah member said, "In our hearts we are all Hamas."
Mahmoud Abbas's so-called "pragmatism" is music to Western ears, but not to the Arabs'.
Somehow this is not obvious to most of the reporters and analysts working here. It ought to be.

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