Arab world holds Hamas responsible in latest conflict

published on July 27, 2014

By Ryan Mauro

As Hamas continues putting Israeli and Palestinian lives in jeopardy by rejecting a ceasefire and firing rockets, the Islamist terrorist group must be disappointed at the Muslim world’s reaction. Hamas did not get the usual reflexive support and fiery backlash against Israel. In fact, it appears that the terrorist group’s largest support is coming from protests in Europe.

The latest round of fighting is remarkable in what did not happen. There weren’t automatic mass demonstrations against Israel and the West. No major riots or countless photographs of Israeli and American flags on fire across the region. No violence against diplomatic facilities. Even though Fatah fired missiles, there was no large-scale uprising in the West Bank.
The Islamists were unable to whip up the masses with the ease of flicking a light switch. Instead, flickers of the truth are penetrating minds saturated with anti-Western propaganda.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas even publicly criticized Hamas on Palestinian television, accusing the group of provoking “unnecessary deaths” and “trading in Palestinian blood” by firing rockets at Israel. Hamas responded by accusing him of “aiding the enemy” and acting like a “criminal.”
The Palestinian Authority’s representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council even acknowledged that Hamas is committing war crimes by targeting civilians and contrasted that with how Israel is following international law by warning residents before strikes so as to minimize civilian casualties.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, a non-profit organization based in Gaza City, is no friend to Israel by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, even this group reported on how Israel is giving civilians in targeted structures time to flee by giving them advance notice through warning shots and even calling their phones.
Hamas is being held responsible for its provocations and Islamists’ calls to action are being ignored (at least for now). This is a huge development.
The change is most apparent in Egypt, now led by President El-Sisi, who is stridently anti-Hamas.
El-Sisi has done the bare minimum required of an Arab leader to protest Israel’s actions. His government’s light condemnation told Israel to “contain the situation by ceasing all military operations, showing maximum self-restraint.” There was no stoking of the anti-Western flames or defense of Hamas.
El-Sisi did not bash Israel even on the anniversary of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, an inherently anti-Israel event. By contrast, Egyptian television hosts are raging against Hamas, with one emphasizing that you can support the Palestinian cause without supporting Hamas.
The assistant-editor of Egypt’s largest newspaper, Al-Ahram, thanked the Israeli Prime Minister on Twitter for his “good deeds” and said, “May our Lord make lots of people like you to eliminate Hamas—the Muslim Brotherhood’s source for corruption, betrayal and treason.”
Another Egyptian journalist, Hayah al-Dardiri, railed against Hamas, saying, “The Egyptian people want their armed forces to hit the nests of terror in the Gaza Strip and destroy Hamas through harsh military actions.”
Skeptics will question the genuineness of these comments and argue that they are reflective of an editorial line set by El-Sisi’s government. That misses the point.
The point is that the dialogue has changed in a much more positive direction. The Islamists are no longer automatically supported. This critical examination of the Islamists’ narratives can start cleansing the toxic environment that perpetually fuels the conflict.
Poll numbers show an opening for a vital contrasting of views to take place.
Although 60% of Palestinians oppose permanent recognition of Israel’s right to exist and want their leaders to pursue its elimination, that number is relatively low when you consider the propaganda the Palestinians have been inundated with. Forty percent is enough for a real debate to occur.
While 60% of Palestinians will only accept Israel’s destruction, the same exact percentage of Israelis say they would support a peace agreement creating a Palestinian state. Only 32% oppose of Israelis would not.
Fortunately, polls show that Hamas is on a downward track. Hamas originally won the Palestinian elections of 2006 with 44%. The terrorist group’s popularity among Palestinians heightened to 62% in 2007.
Now, the latest Pew poll shows that only 35% of Palestinians have a favorable view of Hamas. About 63% of those in Gaza and 47% of those in the West Bank have an unfavorable view. That means that the political position of Hamas has done a 180 degree turn.
The survey also found that 65% of Palestinians worry about Islamic extremism, consisting of 79% of those in the Gaza Strip and 57% of the West Bank. Notice the correlation between this statistic and unfavorable attitudes towards Hamas. This indicates that opposition to Hamas is driven by the group’s ideological extremism and not governmental issues like economic policy.
Unfortunately, while a majority of Palestinians now reject Hamas, a majority still supports one of Hamas’s main terrorist tactics: Suicide bombing of civilian targets. About 46% of Palestinians say that suicide bombing civilians is always or sometimes justified. Another 13% said it is rarely justified.
Approximately 32% of Palestinians say that suicide bombings of civilians is never justifiable, consisting of 21% of those in Gaza and 38% of those in the West Bank. This is a sizeable minority, especially when you consider the level of indoctrination that has taken place.
Pew observes that Hamas’s support is falling day by day outside the Palestinian territories.
About 80% of Turks; 65% of Lebanese Sunnis; 61% of Jordanians and Egyptians and 42% of Tunisians have unfavorable opinions of Hamas. Its unfavorable ratings have risen 12% in Tunisia, 9% in Turkey and 8% in Egypt over the past year.

It’s hard to feel optimistic when you read stories of Israeli children running to bomb shelters and Palestinian civilian casualties. But if you look closely, there are trends that portend a better future.

(Ryan Mauro is the Clarion’s National Security Analyst, a fellow with the Clarion Project and is frequently interviewed on top-tier TV stations as an expert on counterterrorism and Islamic extremism.)

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  1. Nallakannu Reply

    July 27, 2014 at 8:24 am

    Time to alt-ctrl-del
    It is a beautiful opportunity for Islamic societies to convene a global summit. They must realise there is abhorrence for their faith for all the rabid violence it unleashed on the humanity , especially over the past 50 years. If only the world loses it’s patience and declares a fight to finish their followers, it will be too late for them even to repent. They must thoroughly rewrite their Quran and Hadis, which is the source of this horrible poison causing suffering on all life forms. They must do a rethink on their procreation practises that are destroying earth’s ecology and evaporating all the life sources. Those two books are destroying their own religion. Unless they learn to live a civilised life form , their misery will pile on in multiples, that’s for sure. Make no mistakes , nobody is fooled any longer.

  2. Raj Puducode Reply

    July 27, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Religion of terror strikes again- Watch out Umman Chandi
    YAOUNDE: The wife of Cameroon’s vice-prime minister was kidnapped and at least three people were killed in an attack by Boko Haram militants on in the northern town of Kolofata on Sunday, Cameroon officials said.
    A local religious leader, or lamido, named Seini Boukar Lamine, who is also the town’s mayor, was kidnapped as well, in a separate attack on his home.
    Boko Haram, the Nigerian Islamist militant group, has stepped up cross-border attacks into Cameroon in recent weeks as Cameroon has deployed troops to the region, joining international efforts to combat the militants.

    “I can confirm that the home of vice-prime minister Amadou Ali in Kolofata came under a savage attack from Boko Haram militants,” Issa Tchiroma told Reuters by telephone.
    “They unfortunately took away his wife. They also attacked the lamido’s residence and he was also kidnapped,” he said, and at least three people were killed in the attack. A Cameroon military commander in the region told Reuters that the vice prime minister, who was at home to celebrate the Muslim feast of Ramadan with his family, was taken to a neighbouring town by security officials.

    “The situation is very critical here now, and as I am talking to you the Boko Haram elements are still in Kolofata town in a clash with our soldiers,” said Colonel Felix Nji Formekong, the second commander of Cameroon’s third inter-army military region, based in the regional headquarters Maroua.The Sunday attack is the third Boko Haram attack into Cameroon since Friday. At least four soldiers were killed in the previous attacks. Meanwhile, some 22 suspected Boko Haram militants, who have been held in Maroua since March, were on Friday sentenced to prison sentences ranging from 10 to 20 years. It was unclear whether the events are related.

  3. Raj Puducode Reply

    July 27, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Peaceful Jihadis in the news again, why ?
    BAGHDAD: Militants from the Islamic State group blew up a mosque and shrine dating back to the 14th century in Mosul on Sunday, local residents said, the latest casualty in a week that has seen a half dozen of the Iraqi city’s most revered holy places destroyed.

    Mosul residents said the Prophet Jirjis Mosque and Shrine was bombed and destroyed by the radical jihadist group. They spoke anonymously to The Associated Press for fear of reprisal.

    The complex was built over the Quraysh cemetery in Mosul in the late 14th century, and included a small shrine dedicated to Nabi Jerjis, the Prophet George.

    The al-Qaida breakaway Islamic State group captured large swaths of land in western and northern Iraq, including Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, which was captured in June. The group has imposed a self-styled caliphate in territory they control in Iraq and Syria, imposing their harsh interpretation of Islamic law. .

    Among the mosques destroyed in Mosul last week were the Mosque of the Prophet Sheeth (Seth) and the Mosque of the Prophet Younis, or Jonah, said to be the burial place of the Prophet Jonah, who in stories from both the Bible and Quran is swallowed by a whale. The militants claim that such mosques have become places for apostasy, not prayer.

    Since the Islamic State launched their blitz across Iraq, more than a million people have fled their homes, according to the United Nations. Many of those people have escaped to the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq since it has remained relatively stable since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

    In a statement published on Kurdish state media late Saturday, Kurdish Regional Government President Massoud Barzani said the bombing of churches and mosques in Mosul “is against all the principles of the heavenly religions, humanity, and it is targeting the culture and demographic of the area.”

  4. [email protected] Reply

    July 31, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Middle east broplem
    Root cause of Middle east problem is religious . Quran is advocating to kill Jews Christians and all non muslim. Israeli are patriotic. They will not allow the destroyer of their country to sleep calmly.Their politician are less secular compare to Kerala politician. Chief minister also visited Madani terrorist of Kerala .In any country except India people like Jihadi have no place. We have to support Israel fully. No Islamic countries having religious freedom. If one muslim converted to other religion they will kill that person. But Israel is a secular state.There any body can change their religion according to his will .So anybody believe in secularism have to support Isreal.
    Sree Narayana Guru(kerala) told that an Advaidhi will not eat rotten food. Cast system is rotten culture in Hinduism. Our Rishis not supporting cast system. Suppose we purchase 10 kg vegetable. If one is rotten what we will do? We will throw the rotten vegitable . Same way we have to treat cast system We have to save Indian culture. semetic religion Also have same division .Guru told that if 4 crore people there will be 4 crore religion. You think how many where killed by muslim .At the time of Nabi 50 percent of Saudi Arabian were Jews. Now no jews at all Where ever Muslim in this world there are war. Christian fought how many war. How many Christians were died in world war . How Good is our Hinduism. We have only cast problem

  5. Raj Puducode Reply

    August 15, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Jihadi curse on the world
    Nigeria: Boko Haram militants dressed as soldiers slaughtered at least 200 civilians in three communities in northeastern Nigeria and the military failed to intervene even though it was warned that an attack was imminent, witnesses said on Thursday.

    A community leader who witnessed the killings on Monday said residents of the Gwoza local government district in Borno state had pleaded for the military to send soldiers to protect the area after they heard that militants were about to attack, but help didn’t arrive.

    It took a few days for survivors to get word of the massacres to Maiduguri, the provincial capital, because travel on the roads is extremely dangerous and phone connections are poor or nonexistent.

    The slaughter was confirmed by both Mohammed Ali Ndume, a senator representing Borno and whose hometown is Gwoza, and by a top security official in Maiduguri who insisted on anonymity because he isn’t allowed to speak to the media.

    Militants of Boko Haram, which wants to establish Islamic state in Nigeria, have been taking over villages in the northeast, killing and terrorizing civilians and political leaders as the Islamic fighters make a comeback from a year-long military offensive aimed at crushing them. The death toll from Monday’s attacks is among the highest. Thousands of people have been killed in the 5-year-old insurgency, more than 2,000 so far just this year, and an estimated 750,000 Nigerians have been driven from their homes.

    Nigeria’s military has insisted that the big influx of troops and a year-old state of emergency in three states which gives them the power to detain suspects, take over buildings and lock down any area has the extremists on the run.

    But while Boko Haram has in large part been pushed out of cities in the northeast, they have been seizing villages with thatched-roof huts in the semi-arid region where they once held sway, boldly staking their claim by hoisting their black flags.

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