Thursday, September 04, 2008

Does Hamas Have An Image Problem?

According to The Strategy Page it does. And how bad is it?
It's gotten so bad that the 30 year old son (Mosab Yousef) of one of the Hamas founders (Hassan Yousef) has not only renounced Hamas, but has become a Christian. Mosab is fed up with the terrorism/"destroy Israel" approach the Arab world has embraced over the last sixty years. Mosad notes, as have many other Arabs, that this has not worked.
But the problems of Hamas apparently are deeper than just Muslim conversions to Christianity. Hamas realized that in order for the terrorist group to survive, they could not rely just on violence:
So they sought out Moslem charities for donations, and ran many humanitarian programs. Once they had a steady stream of charity money coming in, they could divert some of it to terrorist activities. None of this worked. Israel defeated Hamas terrorism efforts twice (early 1990s, then once more a decade later). When Hamas won the Palestinian elections in 2006, and refused to drop its demand for the destruction of Israel (as non-Moslem donors, who provided most of the charitable contributions that kept the Palestinian state going, insisted), money dried up and the Palestinian government split into Hamas in Gaza (with 1.4 million people) and Fatah in the West Bank (with 2.4 million people). The Palestinians have managed to compile an impressive string of failures in the last half century, and many Palestinians are beginning to question the leadership and strategy. 
Is Hamas really in this much trouble? Unfortunately, saying doesn't make it so. There seems to be an implied connection between funds drying up and the Palestinian leadership splitting in half--that split is more a sign of Hamas strength than anything else. 

This article seems to be more PR than analysis, but we can only hope that Palestinian Arabs do question Hamas. For Israel to emulate a 'surge' in Gaza against the terrorists, they first need to have the people on their side.

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