Not “Just Hamas”

Evidence suggests that the terror group, or at least its policy toward Jews, is popular among Palestinians.

By Eugene Kontorovich, Erielle Davidson

On his recent visit to Israel, President Joe Biden insisted that most Palestinians oppose Hamas’s barbaric efforts against the Jewish state. At the same time, back in Washington, D.C., a mob of 300 broke into the Capitol. While the intruders resembled people you might see frequenting your local organic food co-op, they grabbed headlines because they described themselves as Jews protesting Israel’s war in Gaza, wearing shirts proclaiming, “Not In Our Name.”

Yet there has been no “Not In Our Name” protest in Gaza against Hamas’s war on Israel. Openly defying Hamas, of course, would be dangerous. Still, when a military mutilates and tortures to death 1,500 civilians and livestreams such brutality, one would expect some small number of honorable and brave souls to protest. Hungarians, Czechs, and Poles living under Soviet oppression rose up by the tens of thousands against their tyrannical governments and their collaboration with the Evil Empire. Though brutally suppressed, they vindicated their national honor and created a narrative for subsequent democratic governments. Where is the Palestinian Sophie Scholl? Where is the Gazan Solidarity movement?

If domestic persecution were the reason Gazans were not protesting the unspeakable atrocities, then surely Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, in whose name Hamas claims to act, would take to the streets, or at least to the tweets, to demonstrate their opposition. For many, the intentional killing of civilians would break natural ties of allegiance and sentiment. Not so for the Palestinians under Fatah (which governs the West Bank), whose reactions have ranged from celebratory to silent. Though Fatah is touted as a moderate potential replacement for Hamas, perhaps its subjects also do not feel safe protesting. What, then, about the vast Palestinian diaspora, with its major centers in free countries like Chile and the United States? Indeed, the massive, reflexive protests one would expect from an ordinary society seem completely missing throughout the Palestinian world. More Israelis protested the massacre of Palestinians in Sabra and Shatilla in 1982, where several hundred were killed by Lebanese Christian militias, than Palestinians have protested the unimaginable slaughter by Hamas.

The sad fact is that Hamas, or at least its policy toward Jews, is quite popular. Recent polling performed in July 2023 by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy reveals that “57% of Gazans express at least a somewhat positive opinion of Hamas—along with similar percentages of Palestinians in the West Bank (52%) and East Jerusalem (64%).” Though measured a few months before the October attacks, this support does not reflect a “bait and switch” mechanism, whereby Gazans wanted the trains to run on time but could claim ignorance of Hamas’s genocidal policies. The Hamas Charter calls for the extermination of Israel, and the organization has long been indiscriminately lobbing rockets across the border and redirecting foreign aid toward terrorism. Buttressing the notion that violence against Jews  is popular is the fact that other terror organizations in Gaza, such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Lion’s Den, enjoy even more widespread support, with three quarters of Gaza expressing support for both groups.

Gazans’ support for Hamas has proved remarkably stable. In a 2014 poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, nearly nine in ten Palestinians expressed support for terror attacks against Israel. True to form, Hamas’s popularity in Gaza only surged in June 2021, just one month after the group began launching rockets into Israel, prompting the 2021 Gaza War. A poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that 53 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza at the time believed Hamas to be “most deserving of representing and leading the Palestinian people.” Indeed, polling from March 2023 reveals that if elections were held in Gaza between Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority and leader of Fatah, and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas head would win 61 percent of the vote to Abbas’s 35 percent. The overwhelming majority of Palestinian civilians are not “moderate,” by even the loosest standards of the term.

This comports with the gruesome “trophy” videos Hamas released during and after its recent attacks. In one video, the lifeless and naked body of a young woman gets dragged through the streets of the Gaza Strip on the back of a pickup truck, in broad daylight, to the raucous cheers of hundreds or thousands of surrounding civilians. The terrorists and crowd together scream “Allahu Akbar!” At least one civilian climbs over the edge of the truck bed to spit on her. Among this densely packed throng, not one little old lady could be found to reproach them.

Indeed, ordinary Gazans happily joined in depredations once Hamas breached the fence. Recent reporting from the Spectator, as well as videos taken by the attackers, suggests that “privateers and opportunists . . . upon hearing that the border was suddenly open, grabbed guns and rushed in.” Reports have also emerged that some of the terror victims knew their attackers because the attackers had been granted work permits by Israel’s work-visa program for Gaza residents. Of course, the people who did this do not reflect all Gazans. But it is telling that, in an area that happens to be near the fence, a significant number of “ordinary people” were willing to facilitate such atrocities.

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November 2, 2023 | 1 Comment »

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  1. This is simply Obama’s plan of action finalized by Biden: The plan is to destroy Israel and wipe out the Jews first, then the plan is to wipe out the Christians. The plan is to start with destroying Israel, and then take the destruction to the United States for Islamic terrorists to finish the job.

    This is not a mistake on the part of the feckless Biden government. This was premeditated destruction of the Jewish people in Israel.

    Obama has wanted to empower Iran to be the regional hegemon with Israel wiped off the map. Both Obama and Biden empowered Iran with billions of dollars that they use for terrorizing the middle east and beyond. Hamas has been planning this for many years, and has spent maybe a billion dollars on their tunnel system.

    Israel has to end the Jew hatred now, by destroying Hamas and imprisoning if not killing all the people that want to kill Jews that live in Israel or on Israel’s borders.

    During Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge,” the Obama administration assailed Israel from destroying the tunnels in Gaza by saying Israel was using disproportionate force. I think that is evidence enough that this time MUST BE DIFFERENT.

    Israel cannot survive and allow these killers to survive to kill more Jews. Israel cannot allow herself to be bribed by the US government to stop the military action until destruction of Hamas and their allies in the West Bank is completed.