Hamas and Fatah: They Are Both Losers

I added my thoughts to a thread at Tiny Revolution on recent foreign realist op-eds in the WaPo and NYtimes:

As someone who works on this issue full time, I’ll throw in my two cents. There is a certain irony in the fact that the new foreign ‘realism’ play of the day is about disengaging from the Abbas-centric, West Bank only plan the West is undergoing, while the typical Palestinian & Arab voice are distinctly against both groups. And I’m not speaking in uncertain terms of our view of political disconnect (apathy and laying around stoned, shooting the breeze about political hegemony continued by certain social groups), but serious anger at both Fatah and Hamas. At Fatah for being a bunch of worthless old fucks who turning a Palestine-first movement into a kleptocracy, and Hamas for hijacking Palestinian nationalism and turning into a serious derka-derka jihad idiocracy. That latter view was shared by the cosmopolitan Jerusalemites in the 90’s and has spread to most middle-class Palestinians and Arabs since. Common man resentment has also really surfaced against Hamas for making things worse (if possible) in the Palestinian territories by turning some vendetta killings into a geographical political coup. If you don’t believe me, there are oodles of articles and videos for your viewing pleasure of recent mass protests in Gaza City and Ramallah against the unity government. My favorite video coincidentally to come out of all of this was a Gaza resident chasing an automatic-rifle touting Hamas militant down a street with his shoe.

And on cue, the Jerusalem Fund released an information briefing this morning entitled Palestinians Say Hamas and Fateh Equally Responsible for the Infighting:

Overview: Fifty-nine percent of Palestinians surveyed in a 21 June 2007 poll blame Fateh and Hamas for last weeks intra-Palestinian fighting and 71 percent said they consider both groups to be the “loser.” The survey, conducted by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR), found that while 75 percent want early presidential and parliamentary elections, 40 percent said they would not participate if the race was between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Ismail Haniyeh. Abbas would slightly edge out Hanyieh with 49 percent of the vote compared to Hanyieh’s 42 percent. The numbers change dramatically if imprisoned Fateh leader Marwan Barghouthi replaced Abbas in the race. The percentage of voter nonparticipation decreases to 31 percent and 59 percent of West Bank respondents said they would vote for Barghouthi compared to 35 percent for Haniyeh. In Gaza, 55 percent of respondents said Barghouthi was their choice compared to 41 percent who said they prefer Haniyeh. The 1270 randomly selected respondents from the West Bank and Gaza Strip were interviewed between 14 and 20 June 2007. The margin of error is 3 percent.


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