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How Did You Think Palestinians Would React to Gaza?

Ezra Klein asks:

Can anyone seriously claim that Israel’s attacks will not amplify Palestinian anger? Will they not be strengthened by pan-Arab, and even international, solidarity?

It’s worth remembering that, as Gershon Shafir writes, Hamas’s 2007 forcible conquest of Gaza isolated it from the Arab world, which prefers to consider the fanatical terrorist group an agent of (non-Arab) Iran. That’s why Hamas’ ally Hezbollah is condemning Egypt — which really doesn’t like the idea of living next to Hamastan — and other Arab states for “collaborating” with the Israeli bombings. That makes the continued isolation of Hamas from other Palestinians and the Arab world strategically important to Israel.

The longer this campaign goes on, the less tenable that isolation will become. What the Arab world is seeing isn’t Hamas being attacked, but collective punishment against Palestinians. Take a look at Marc Lynch’s overview of Arabic-language media:

There are already some cracks in the anti-Hamas front — three years of the Hamas- Fatah conflict dividing Arab attitudes towards and Arab media coverage of Palestinian politics do not seem to have dulled the intensity of the response to the images of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza. Here, it’s instructive to compare Homayed’s leader for al-Sharq al-Awsat (blaming Hamas and equating it with Hezbollah) with the leader by the editor of the Saudi-owned al-Hayat Ghassan Cherbel focused on stopping “the massacre” — bemoaning the “monstrous attacks” and declaiming that there is no time to resolve deep inter-Arab conflicts before ending the killing in Gaza.

Steve Clemons opened up his blog to secular Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti today. You should really read Barghouti’s remarks in full. They are vitriolic and furious — “Palestine’s Guernica” is half of the title — and shouldn’t surprise anyone. No leader would be calm in the face of his or her people’s bombardment — which is something that also applies to Israeli leaders who saw the Qassams fall on Israeli citizens — but the broader point is that he’s neither an ally of Hamas nor particularly inclined to view the attack as anything but an attack on Palestinians:

**

First and foremost, missiles do not differentiate people by their political affiliation; they simply kill everyone in their path. Israel knows this, and so do Palestinians. What Israel also knows, but is not saying public ally [sic], is how much their recent actions will actually strengthen Hamas – whose message of resistance and revenge is being echoed by the angry and grieving.

And that’s the case right there for international involvement, mediation and enforcement.

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