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1 researchok  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:10:48pm

Palestinian society has far greater priorities than Israel.

This kind of behavior is far more detrimental to them than is their 'struggle'.

2 sliv_the_eli  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:02:03pm

I have criticized the NYT often enough for their handling of these matters. In this case, kudos to them for reporting on this event. It is important for their readers to understand the barbarity of the Hamas regime that is otherwise too often portrayed in the legacy media as a benign presence.

3 Obdicut  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:04:36pm

re: #2 sliv_the_eli

I don't think it's true to claim that Hamas is often portrayed as a benign presence.

And this should remind those who are exhorting the Palestinians to rise up and throw off Hamas what the risks of trying to do that are.

4 sliv_the_eli  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:10:12pm

re: #3 Obdicut

I don't think it's true to claim that Hamas is often portrayed as a benign presence.

And this should remind those who are exhorting the Palestinians to rise up and throw off Hamas what the risks of trying to do that are.

The Palestinians don't need us to remind us. They remember the Fatah members shot and thrown off rooftops during the Hamas coup a few years ago. That said, we tend to delude ourselves in the West that there is necessarily a significant number of people who even want to throw of Hamas.

5 Obdicut  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:13:16pm

re: #4 sliv_the_eli

. That said, we tend to delude ourselves in the West that there is necessarily a significant number of people who even want to throw of Hamas.

Why do you call it a delusion?

6 CuriousLurker  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:16:18pm

re: #2 sliv_the_eli

I agree with Obdi, IMO the portrayal of Hamas isn't often benign. I've seen it reported that there are branches of Hamas that provide social welfare services, but that hardly serves to classify the organization as a whole as benign.

re: #4 sliv_the_eli

That said, we tend to delude ourselves in the West that there is necessarily a significant number of people who even want to throw of Hamas.

I have to ask how you know this for a fact.

7 Charles Johnson  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:16:45pm

By the way:

8 sliv_the_eli  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:52:06pm

re: #5 Obdicut

re: #6 CuriousLurker

re: #7 Charles Johnson

I state that many in the West delude themselves on this point, because they make the assertion without any real objective data, much less activity by those to whom they ascribe such a desire, to back it up. For the same reason it would be fair to accuse me of deluding myself if I stated that there is not a significant number of people in Gaza wishing to do so. I do not have the direct access to the people of Gaza and therefore cannot and do not make that assertion. To the contrary, there is no question that there are Fatah members/supporters and even those in Gaza who are willing to risk their lives to help the Israelis identify and eliminate Hamas militants.

That said, the fact remains that Hamas was voted into power by a significant number of Palestinians, and a substantial number of Palestinians continues to support Hamas' views even if they do not count themselves as political supporters of the group. For example, see the information at the link below of a survey performed only a few months ago by the respective Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. While it shows that, politically, residents of Gaza are more likely today to vote for Fatah than for Hamas (although not necessarily for Salam Fayyad, who has almost no indigenous support) (see, e.g., responses to Question 20; note also the strong support for convicted terrorist Marwan Barghouti in a direct election against either or both of Abbas or Ismail Haniyeh), when asked about their views on specific issues such as support for an armed intifadeh (see, responses to Question 50-5) or for armed attacks against Israeli civilians (responses to Question 56), a strong majority of the Gaza Strip's residents (52.9% and 65.8% ror respondends respectively) hold views that are supportive of Hamas' approach .

[Link: www.pcpsr.org...]

A final note (then I have to get back to my day job) re: the Pew results showing lower support for Hamas around the Arab world. If recent elections in the newly democratized North African countries are an indicator, there is significant support for Salafi parties that are even more radical than Hamas. The so-called "Arab Spring" has also given new life to the centuries long battle between the Shi'a and Sunni branches of Islam for supremacy. Poll results that do no more than show the "favorable vs. unfavorable" view of Hamas in various places are of limited utility in elucidating matters unless they are viewed in the context of these other events that are shaking the Arab and Muslim world.

9 sliv_the_eli  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:59:06pm

re: #6 CuriousLurker

CL: I realize I did not respond to your point about Hamas' role in furnishing social services. You are absolutely correct that they do so and that these services are, of course, of real value to those who need and would not otherwise receive them. (Although that is largely because of the massive corruption that has been endemic to the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority under the Arafat-Abbas regime).

However, I am often reminded in that context of the old saying that under Mussolini the trains ran on time. The social services furnished by Hamas is largely an effort to buy the population's support (or at least indifference) so as to enable Hamas to pursue its larger strategies and goals.

It is for this reason that, in my opinion, the MSM is misguided, at best, when it refers to Hamas' "military wing", as though that is somehow separate from the overall organization and its goals. In that sense, as well, while Hamas unquestionably has and continues to provide certain real benefits to the Palestinian population, the entity is far from a benign presence.

10 Obdicut  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:59:21pm

re: #8 sliv_the_eli

I guess it depends what you mean by 'significant', but if you don't think a large numbers of Palestinians hate Hamas, I dunno what to say. Why on earth would you think that Hamas wasn't hated by many, when they act like this?

11 Charles Johnson  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 3:05:14pm

re: #8 sliv_the_eli

I state that many in the West delude themselves on this point, because they make the assertion without any real objective data, much less activity by those to whom they ascribe such a desire, to back it up.

Maybe I'm missing your point, but I thought a Pew Research survey of Muslim nations WAS "real objective data." That's why I posted it. And it shows that Hamas is definitely not universally popular among Muslims.

12 sliv_the_eli  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 3:10:05pm

re: #10 Obdicut

I guess it depends what you mean by 'significant', but if you don't think a large numbers of Palestinians hate Hamas, I dunno what to say. Why on earth would you think that Hamas wasn't hated by many, when they act like this?

I think you misunderstood what I said. I do not doubt that a significant number of people hate Hamas. That is different from stating that a significant number of people want to overthrow them.

As to the latter point, I do not, as I stated above, have any hard data. However, I do know that surveys continue to show a majority of Gaza residents supporting Hamas' views on specific key issues, even while stating that they would vote for Fatah. This suggests to me several possibilities (with the caveat that this is at best informed speculation, since I have not performed a scientifically valid survey of the people involved):

(1) Some people responding to the survey are telling the questioner what they believe he wants to hear;
(2) The survey is merely reflecting the reality that even after the Hamas-led coup in the Gaza Strip, there is still a significant number of Fatah supporters who live in the Gaza Strip and who would vote for Fatah if an election was actually held;
(3) Like potential voters everywhere, the "voting" population in the Gaza Strip has a significant portion of "independent" voters, who voted for Hamas during the last elections because they were fed up with the corruption of the PA, but would not vote for Fatah because they are unhappy with the "results" of Hamas rule;
(4) As with many voters anywhere, they might support a particular party even if, when they are asked their views on individual issues, those views are more consistent with the platform of another party (think conservative Democrats or liberal Republicans -- and, yes, there are such people -- in the U.S.).

Taken together, the survey ata suggests, to me at least, that while there may be many in the Gaza Strip who are unhappy with Hamas rule and would, if given an opportunity to vote them out of power, vote against Hamas, the number of those who would actually seek to "throw off" Hamas rule is, at most, very limited (but not non-existent, since there are even those who will risk their lives to help the Israelis against Hamas).

13 Obdicut  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 3:16:13pm

re: #12 sliv_the_eli

I think you misunderstood what I said. I do not doubt that a significant number of people hate Hamas. That is different from stating that a significant number of people want to overthrow them.

How is it different? You think there's a lot of people who hate Hamas but really want to see them stay in power? Why?

As to the latter point, I do not, as I stated above, have any hard data. However, I do know that surveys continue to show a majority of Gaza residents supporting Hamas' views on specific key issues, even while stating that they would vote for Fatah.

Yeah. It shows a majority. That's not really relevant to what we're talking about, is it?

Taken together, the survey ata suggests, to me at least, that while there may be many in the Gaza Strip who are unhappy with Hamas rule and would, if given an opportunity to vote them out of power, vote against Hamas, the number of those who would actually seek to "throw off" Hamas rule is, at most, very limited (but not non-existent, since there are even those who will risk their lives to help the Israelis against Hamas).

Cannot tell if you're just fucking with me at this point, man. I have no clue what you're trying to define 'throw off' as in order to make this work-- if you mean 'oppose visibly', then may I introduce you to the point I already fucking made?

14 sliv_the_eli  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 3:25:08pm

re: #11 Charles Johnson

My point with respect to the Pew Research numbers is that you have to dig beyond the surface of the numbers in order to understand what they really show. For example, Hamas can be held in an unfavorable light because they are viewed as not radical enough, rather than because they are viewed as a radical group that should be overthrown. Turkish views of Hamas might be able to be explained by a number of factors, including Turkey's post-Ataturk history of a more secular Islam, or even the fact that Hamas is viewed as an organization more closely aligned with Egypt, which is Turkey's rival for power and influence in the Arab and Muslim world.

The Pew numbers for Lebanon are even more interesting, and make a good case study to demonstrate my point. he Pew numbers that you posted show that, in Lebanon, Hamas has the following favorable/unfavorable ratios:

Favorable Unfavorable
1. Among Christians: 14% 84%
2. Among Sunni: 28% 65%
3. Among Shi'a 58% 42%

At first glance, these numbers are odd, since Hamas, which was founded by and is closely related to the Muslim Brotherhood, is an essentially Sunni organization. One would expect Hamas, therefore, to have stronger support among Lebanese Sunni, but, instead, it is viewed unfavorably by that group and is only viewed favorably by Lebanese Shi'a.

In order to understand these results, it is important to understand that Hamas has largely come to be viewed in Lebanon not as heroes of Sunni Islam but, rather, as allies of and proxies for Iran, ruled by a Shi'a theocracy, Hizb'allah, a Shi'a militia/political group that is aligned with Iran, and Syria, an Alawi-led government that is an ally of Iran and occupied Lebanon for decades. Viewed in this light, the numbers from Lebanon now make sense. It has majority support among Lebanese Shi'a (although not overwhelming support because Hamas is, after all, still a Sunni group), but is viewed unfavorably (and overwhelmingly so) by Lebanese Sunnis and Christians who view Hamas as being allied with their Syrian and Iranian enemies.

15 sliv_the_eli  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 3:36:37pm

re: #13 Obdicut

Easy there. I'm not trying to mess with you on this. If you go back to your post #3, which is where this point started, you made the point that the execution of an alleged collaborator should be taken as a lesson to those who blithely exhort the residents of the Gaza Strip to "throw off" Hamas rule. I understood you to be referring to those who would urge them to openly challenge -- even perhaps by force -- the Hamas regime. It may be that I understood your comment too broadly, but my comment that there is little evidence of a significant number of those who are interested in "throwing off" Hamas rule stemmed from that understanding.

Obviously that is different from those who would readily, if elections were ever actually held, vote Hamas out of power because they "hate" Hamas. That, BTW, is where I make the distinction between those who "hate" Hamas and those who would "throw off" Hamas. (To put my usage of the language in the perspective of U.S. politics, there are many people who might "hate" the Obama administration, and vote against the President, but would not take up arms against the government).

Obviously, the conversation has strayed a bit from where it started, but that is where my thoughts came from.

16 Obdicut  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 3:45:25pm

re: #15 sliv_the_eli

No clue what you're saying.

What I'm saying: People who think that Hamas should simply be thrown out by the Gazan people are idiots, because Hamas executes those who oppose it quite frequently. Asking people to stand up to Hamas is asking them to risk their lives and most likely in a futile fashion.

17 sliv_the_eli  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 4:07:56pm

re: #16 Obdicut

OK, then, at least I understand your point, that it is wrong for others to call on the Palestinians to overthrow Hamas.

But, if that is your point, allow me to offer the following for you to consider. If it is not to be the Palestinians themselves who throw off the oppressive yoke of Hamas, then who should?

1. Israel? If yes, why should the Israelis put their sons and daughters at risk to free people who, as the survey I linked to above show, overwhelmingly support terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians? And, since overthrowing Hamas likely would require an invasion and reoccupation of the Gaza Strip, is that really what you want? (I know the Israelis don't).

2. The U.S.? If yes, why? What in our experience in Iraq and Afghanistan suggests that we have the capability or will to fix this? Or that we should do it?

Frankly, I am less concerned with who the titular ruler of the Gaza Strip is than with what the people of Gaza and its leadership actually believes. In other words, I don't care if the Gaza Strip is ruled by Hamas or by Fatah, so long as the views of a majority of its residents is that it is okay to commit acts of terrorism against Israeli (and make no mistake they mean Israeli Jews, not Israeli Arabs) civilians. Because, when all is said and done, peace can only be achieved when the majority no longer hold such abhorrent views.

18 Obdicut  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 4:19:51pm

re: #17 sliv_the_eli

OK, then, at least I understand your point, that it is wrong for others to call on the Palestinians to overthrow Hamas.

It's more just short-sighted and really easy to do, while ignoring this kind of shit.

But, if that is your point, allow me to offer the following for you to consider. If it is not to be the Palestinians themselves who throw off the oppressive yoke of Hamas, then who should?

Hamas doesn't exist by itself. It receives material and propaganda support from many different places.

In other words, I don't care if the Gaza Strip is ruled by Hamas or by Fatah, so long as the views of a majority of its residents is that it is okay to commit acts of terrorism against Israeli (and make no mistake they mean Israeli Jews, not Israeli Arabs) civilians. Because, when all is said and done, peace can only be achieved when the majority no longer hold such abhorrent views.

I'd say that's a fine truism, but wonder what the hell it has to do with anything I'm saying.

19 Destro  Sat, Nov 17, 2012 12:16:58am

re: #11 Charles Johnson

Maybe I'm missing your point, but I thought a Pew Research survey of Muslim nations WAS "real objective data." That's why I posted it. And it shows that Hamas is definitely not universally popular among Muslims.

What's going on in Tunisia that Hamas is at 50% levels there?


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