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Monday, August 09, 2010

Der Spiegel notices Hamas infighting. Then it calls some of them "peaceful."

Der Spiegel (German only) has an interesting article about Hamas infighting. It starts off with some interesting facts, but then turns into a joke.

A young man whose body was found in a Rafah tunnel last year - it may have been this one - seems to have been murdered by Hamas and dumped there. The man was a whistleblower of Hamas corruption, but his problem with Hamas was that they had abandoned their Islamist roots, not that they were too extreme:

But his death is only one of many unsolved cases in which Hamas is accused of having executed dissidents from their own ranks. Human rights activists in the Gaza Strip, who wish to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the subject, speak of dozens of incidents in which such allegations are raised: "It is almost impossible to prove it, because Hamas covered up these cases."

The rulers of the Gaza Strip seem to purge people in their own ranks and prominent members are not spared. Munir [the man mentioned above], for example, was a major arms purchaser for the organization - a fact that his father admits with pride, but also with additional rage. "It is for them he traveled all over the world; he went for them to Iran, Syria, Ireland. And because he wanted to ensure that the pure doctrine of Hamas is not distorted, they have killed him."

There is a reason why Hamas seems to employ brutal violence to silence critics within its own ranks: Three years after coming to power, many radical Islamists in the Gaza Strip are turning away from their support in droves. Both the moderate and the extreme members of the organization are disappointed, and discontent is spreading on both the right and the left.
YNet also reports on these developments:
News stories about bodies found at sea are occasionally published by Gaza newspapers. The number of such bodies isn't huge, yet not all those drowning victims chose to go swimming voluntarily. The Gazans who found their death at sea include mid-level officials at sensitive government ministries, the Interior Ministry for example, alongside police and security officers.

Some of them were shot in the head before being sent on their swim.

There is a common denominator to these deaths: All of the victims were designated as traitors by the secret service of Hamas' military wing in charge of counter-espionage and executed as collaborators.

And these are not just simple collaborators, but rather, people who penetrated deep into Hamas' government; so deep that Hamas leaders are embarrassed to expose the failure and prefer to make these people disappear, with or without a brief court-martial.

Gaza's streets are teeming with rumors. Stories of people who disappeared at sea or elsewhere stay on the agenda. The whole of Gaza, as if amok-stricken, takes part in the hunt. Posters urging a war on collaborators hang in the streets; the issue is discussed on the radio and during sermons at mosques. In the upcoming school year, the topic will be added to the curriculum, with Gaza children learning about the dangers inherent in collaborators. Teachers will be asked to explain what good, suspicious children do: Turn in their parents.

This huge manhunt is not a sign of strength, says a senior Israeli security official – the opposite is true. These are clear signs of distress for Hamas' regime.
While YNet gives a decent analysis, the Der Spiegel article then descends into farce:

"The party split into hawks and doves," said Sajed Abu Musameh, one of the seven founders of Hamas and one if the more moderate critics of the movement. Many men of his generation had grown up with Jews, says the 63-year-old, who is still a member of the party leadership. Many of these elders believed in peaceful coexistence, not to the power of rockets and suicide attacks. "But the party is now influenced by the young radicals, they represent the majority of the members, our leaders say what they want to hear."
This is patently absurd. The early leaders of Hamas were not moderate by any measure - they gained prominence in direct proportion to the grisliness of their attacks on Jews. They are the ones who drafted the anti-semitic and genocidal Hamas Charter. Now we are hearing that they believe in peaceful co-existence?

The truth is that the Hamas leadership now has something to lose, and their newfound "moderation" is a direct consequence of them not wanting to lose power. Their suppressing of rocket fire is a function of fear, not moderation. That the younger generation, raised on a diet of calls to jihad, notices the hypocrisy is understandable - but it does not mean that the elders are any less extreme, just that they are somewhat wiser and more patient in how to achieve their goals.

To put the words "peaceful co-existence" and "Hamas" in the same sentence shows how far Western journalists have fallen. The only Israelis who would have that same sentence applied to them by the media would be the extreme Left, and the implicit equalization of the two is a major problem in the media. The fact is that "Hamas moderation" is an oxymoron, and using relative terms as absolute terms for both sides is one of the biggest distortions of truth that the world has been exposed to for many years.

Any unbiased look at the situation would show that the most extreme Israelis are more moderate in their goals than the most "moderate" Hamas members. The fact that this is not self-evident to the majority of the world audience shows the huge gap between what journalists report and reality.

(h/t Silke)