By Khalid Amayreh in occupied Palestine
"The bottom-line: The fact that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians showed up for Hamas's annual anniversary in Gaza on Tuesday is a clarion testimony that Hamas is here to stay, regardless of Israeli and American wishful thinking."
Notwithstanding treacherous conspiracies constantly devised against Hamas by Hamas's enemies, Hamas is likely to stay with us for a long time to come and even grow.
Since 2006, when Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections, defeating the American-funded Fatah movement, the United States and its puppet regimes and allies in the Arab world used every conceivable means to undermine and weaken Hamas.
The US bullied banks around the world to stop any money transfer to the Gaza Strip. Western Union, acting at America's beck and call, blacklisted between 15,000-20,000 Palestinians it was told were sympathetic to Hamas.
Israel, for its part, resorted to Nazi-like crimes in an effort to decapitate Hamas by imposing a hermetic blockade on the Gaza Strip to pressure the people of Gaza to rise up against Hamas.
In 2008, around this time, Israel launched a vindictive onslaught on the Gaza Strip, killing and maiming thousands of innocent Palestinians. During that manifestly criminal aggression, the Israeli air force wreaked pornographic destruction on thousands of structures, including homes, mosques, government buildings, bridges and the coastal enclave's infrastructure. Entire families were exterminated as one Israeli official vowed to inflict a holocaust on the virtually helpless and unprotected Gazans.
The Ramallah-based regime waited impatiently for Hamas's destruction or surrender. Several Arab regimes behaved likewise, calculating that as long as Hamas played a role in the Arab-Israeli equation, the Palestinians wouldn't surrender and their enduring cause would continue to galvanize Muslims to resist Israel, which would undermine their security and stability.
Now, four years after the American-Israeli blockade, and two years after the murderous Israeli attempt to decapitate Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic movement is still able to command the support of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Palestinians.
Hamas is not a group of angels or supermen. However, its self-abnegation, dedication and devotion to the national cause as well as ability to absorb suffering are characters that are not rife among the rank and file of its secular foes.
I asked Ahmed Yousf, a Hamas spokesman in the Strip what he thought prompted hundreds of thousands of Gazans to rally in support of Hamas despite the overwhelming misery and poverty inflicted on Gazans, allegedly because of Hamas.
Yousuf didn't wait a second before answering my questions. He said: "It is honor and self-respect. It is true that life in Gaza is hard and it is true that suffering is rampant. But it is also true that people here, or most people, don't blame Hamas for their suffering. After all, it was Israel, not Hamas, that imposed and continues to impose this criminal blockade and it was Israel, not Hamas that launched the Nazi-like blitz against our people two years ago. So our people are not a flock of sheep that would stand at the receiving end of Zionist savagery and criminality and then play into Israel's hands by blaming Hamas for that criminality and barbarianism."
Yousuf added "Our people are simply showing gratitude to Hamas. I am not saying or suggesting there are no problems; there are, of course. But if you ask the people whom do they trust more, Hamas or the American-funded government of Ramallah, they will say rather unhesitatingly that they trust Hamas. And if you ask them which government they think is infested with corruption and decadence, they know the right answer almost innately."
I remember I once interviewed a prominent political scientist in Ramallah how long he thought Hamas would withstand draconian international pressure while in government. The prominent academic said, almost haphazardly and without any hesitation, that he would give them two or three months at most.
In fact, one would exaggerate very little by saying that Hamas's ability to survive all the conspiracies coming from all directions is nothing short of a real miracle.
But this miracle has not been achieved at no cost. The movement lost many of its top and best leaders, including Sheikh Ahmed Yasin, Abdul Aziz Rantisi, Ismael Abu Shnab, Nizar Rayyan and many others. But Hamas, a movement rooted in Islam, is not based on the charisma of one individual. This is the reason the movement has suffered no major setback despite the evil designs schemed by Israel, occasionally in collusion with Palestinian elements.
Following the showdown with Fatah in 2007, many western news agencies parroted the big lie that Hamas carried out a coup against the so-called Palestinian "legitimacy", ignoring the fact that Hamas was itself the government, having won the elections.
Unfortunately, some western, Israeli and Arab media continue to parrot the same mendacity. They just overlook the fact that the American and Israeli intelligence colluded and connived with certain Palestinian warlords to destabilize Hamas before ganging up on and decapitating its legitimate government.
So, the question many of us were prompted to ask was what was Hamas supposed to do, watching the Americans, the Israelis and other Palestinians sharpen their daggers and swords, getting ready to decapitate Hamas once and for all?
Only honest people would answer this question honestly. As to the politically-correct media, the word honesty doesn't seem to exist in their lexicon.
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|Liaquat Ali Khan|