Should I laugh or cry? An Israeli newspaper and Al-Qaeda groups have agreed on something: that Hamas’ weekend operation against an Al-Qaeda-inspired group was a ‘MASSACRE.‘
Now I can understand why Al-Qaeda would have called the killing of their fans in Gaza a ‘massacre,’ but Haaretz? I already wrote an analysis why it wasn’t a ‘massacre.’
Now let’s look at what interest an Israeli newspaper and Al-Qaeda had in calling it one.
First, Al-Qaeda: Calling Hamas’ legitimate operation against an armed and outlawed group a massacre creates sympathy among Muslims, which is good for fund-raising and gaining wider support. (Anyone who kills a Muslim, must be bad, goes the logic for some. No matter that the man was armed for battle and declaring regime change.)
And, Hamas is no longer the darling of the Islamic militant movements, so it’s good to badmouth them. They’ve gone too political for Al-Qaeda taste in recent years. Yes, they dream of Dar al-Islam, that this region will be ruled by the laws described in the Quran, just like the Al-Qaeda guys. But the Hamas movement is like the communists. And I’m basing this analysis on their actions, declarations and the numerous conversations I’ve had with them over the years. The communists dream of one big communism-run world. However, they are realistic. They know that’s not likely to happen and they are practical, so they focus on what they can achieve and play by the rules of democracy (or at least the ones I’ve met in Israel and the Arab world do). Yes, I know that is hard for many of us to perceive Hamas in this way. But things change. People change. Movements change. Look, Egypt and Jordan became practical. They don’t like us, but they think it’s better to make peace than be in war. And you can be religious, totalitarian, or whatever, and still be realistic. So, in short, Hamas has gone political and the Al-Qaeda guys are dissing them.
But why did my colleagues Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel, Haaretz’s Palestinian Affiars correspondents and Military Affairs correspondents, use the sacred word ‘massacre‘? I need to call Avi and ask him. I’ll let you know when I find out.
(BTW, the last time Avi and I saw each other was in one of the homes in Hebron under attack by Jewish settlers, the day the Israeli military evacuated settlers from the nearby ‘House of Contention.’ Avi wrote the next day that the settlers’ attack on the Palestinians a ‘pogrom.‘ The settlers called it their ‘price-tag.’ That time, I agreed with Avi.
Update: Wrote Avi and asked him if he would like to comment on my analysis of Hamas’ weekend operation and critique of his analysis of it. He chose not to.
Meanwhile, Time Magazine’s Tony Karon wrote an analysis on the same subject and came to some of the same conclusions as I did: the Hamas Movement is pragmatic.