Thirty-four years ago last Friday the Hamas terrorist organization was established as a local Palestinian offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. Today the group rules the Gaza Strip and remains the most popular faction in Palestinian politics.
Hamas celebrated its anniversary with a large rally in Gaza City. Group leaders made the typical pronouncements regarding their ongoing fight against Israel.
“We refuse to give up even one inch of this land,” shouted group co-founder and local Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar.
“Defending Jerusalem is our sacred duty,” added senior Hamas official Mushir al-Masri.
What was most jarring, at least for those of us who are parents, was Hamas’ efforts to further encourage the children of Gaza to join its ranks.
The anniversary celebrations featured colorful murals painted across Gaza City depicting Hamas “fighters” engaging the enemy. The cartoonish style could only be an appeal to kids.
We have written a number of times in the past about the Hamas terrorist summer camps that amount to no less than child abuse by setting these youngsters on a path of death and destruction.
What is troubling for many Israelis is the popularity Hamas maintains at the polls. Many in Gaza who are brave enough to speak out have told Israel Today that they loathe living under Hamas rule.
- Every Second Gazan Wants To Leave? No, All of Them Do!
- Palestinian Analyst: Gazans Would Welcome Israel Back
And yet, surveys show that if elections were to be held, Hamas would again win a controlling percentage in the Palestinian parliament (the group also won the last election in 2006).
Hamas has a humanitarian wing, but, again, those who have actually lived under the group’s rule know it to be a poor administrator and no less corrupt than the Palestinian Authority. No, Hamas’ popularity is entirely tied to its past success in murdering Jews and its more recent brazenness in launching missiles at Israel’s main cities.
As Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin pronounced upon the group’s establishment, the driving vision is to eradicate Israel and replace it with an Islamic state. All else is secondary. And sadly, that seems to be the kind of people that a plurality of Palestinian voters want leading the way. Either that, or they are too afraid to oppose the likes of Hamas.