Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Hamas & the Great March of Return:

Israeli PR always goes into overdrive after its killers complete their latest massacre(s). As with the massacre on the Turkish aid ship Mavi Marmara in 2010, clipped, edited videos, sound-bytes, and texts appear in record time, constituting a smokescreen of victim-blaming. The aim, of course. is both to provide Israel's defenders with suitable talking points and to divert world public opinion from the bleeding obvious.

Hot off the presses is the following item, now flooding the internet and popping up in the msm rants of the pro-Israel pundits. Here it is, for example, in the always purple prose of our very own Piers Akerman: "[T]he ABC's attempted whitewash of the nature of the terrorist attack was demonstratively undermined by the co-founder of Hamas Mahmoud al-Zahar who told Al-Jazeera that the terror group was 'deceiving the public' when it spoke of 'peaceful resistance' before the violent protests began." (ABC hits a new low in biased reporting, Sunday Telegraph, 20/5/18)

Here's the original, as translated and edited by Israel's Middle East Research Institute (MEMRI), an outfit that trawls the Arabic-language media, searching for items with potential (along with some judicious translating, cutting and pasting) for use as anti-Arab propaganda:

Host: Mr Mahmoud Abbas said that after all these years, Hamas is employing the same peaceful resistance that has been advocated by Fatah since day one and for many years. So why don't Fatah and Hamas agree on a united platform?

Mahmoud Al-Zahhar: This is a clear terminological deception. When you are in possession of weapons that were able to withstand the occupation in the wars of 2006, 2008, 2012 and 2014... When you have weapons that are being wielded by men who were able to prevent the strongest army in the region from entering the Gaza Strip for 51 days, and were able to capture or kill soldiers of that army, is this really 'peaceful resistance'? This is not peaceful resistance. Has the option (of armed struggle) diminished? No. On the contrary, it is growing and developing. That's clear. So when we talk about 'peaceful resistance', we are deceiving the public. This is a peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies, and enjoying tremendous popular support. As for (Fatah's) 'peaceful resistance', it consists of rallies, demonstrations, protests, pleas, and requests, in order to improve the terms of the negotiations, or to enable talks with the Israeli enemy. This deception does not fool the Palestinian public. (Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahar on Gaza protests: This is not peaceful resistance, it is supported by our weapons, memri.org, 13/5/18)

Assuming that we accept the veracity of MEMRI's translation and editing of the Al-Jazeera original, the first thing to note here is that Al-Zahar's words should be seen in the context of Hamas's rivalry with the Palestinian Authority and Abbas's Fatah organisation. One of the key differences between the two is that Hamas is still committed to the strategy of armed struggle against the Israeli enemy, while Fatah is not. Al-Zahar here is doing no more than defend the use of arms vis-a-vis Fatah's abandonment of them for 'peaceful resistance'. The "we" of the highlighted sentence above is somewhat ambiguous (perhaps even made so by the MEMRI translator), but seems to refer more to Abbas than to Hamas. It is Abbas then, not Hamas, who is "deceiving the public." In fact, in the very next sentence Al-Zahar says, "[T]his [the Great March of Return] is a peaceful protest... enjoying tremendous popular support," albeit "bolstered by a military force," none of which was used during the demonstrations. The concluding sentence makes crystal clear just whose deception we are dealing with here - Abbas's: "This deception does not fool the Palestinian public."

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