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Home arrow Palestinian Elections arrow Why Hamas Won
Why Hamas Won PDF Print E-mail
Feb 07, 2006 at 12:00 AM
Israel Created the Conditions for Hamas’s Success
by Neve Gordon [Counterpunch, February 7, 2006]

“Although it is still unclear what the future holds for Israelis and Palestinians, a few things can be said about the processes that enabled Hamas to win a landslide victory in the January 25 democratic elections and how the organization?s triumph will likely affect the local political arena.

Founded in Gaza at the beginning of the first Intifada (December 1987) by Sheik Ahmad Yassin, Hamas is a direct extension of the Muslim =rotherhood. Although in the media Hamas tends to be identified with its military arm, Izzeddin al-Qassam, which is well known for its suicide attacks against Israeli targets, the organization?s popularity in the Occupied Territories actually stems from its being seen as the voice of Palestinian dignity and the symbol of the defense of Palestinian rights at a time of unprecedented hardship, humiliation, and despair.

People who voted for Hamas emphasize not only the heroic acts of its combatants, but also its reputation for clean conduct, modesty, and honesty, which have been pointedly contrasted with the corruption of the Palestinian Authority. Many of its followers do not subscribe to religious fundamentalism, but rather support the organization due to its pragmatic approach characterized by support for the short-term objective of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, while still maintaining the long-term goal of establishing an Islamic state that would replace Israel and offer a solution to the Palestinian refugee problem.

Most importantly, perhaps, Hamas acquired much of its political credit from its charity and social service networks...”

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Israel planned for Lebanon war months in advance, PM says
  • Olmert's leaked testimony contradicts earlier remarks 
  • Criticism from inquiry may force resignation

Conal Urquhart in Tel Aviv
Friday March 9, 2007
The Guardian

Preparations for Israel's war in Lebanon last summer were drawn up at least four months before two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by Hizbullah in July, Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, has admitted.

His submission to a commission of inquiry, leaked yesterday, contradicted the impression at the time that Israel was provoked into a battle for which it was ill-prepared. Mr Olmert told the Winograd commission, a panel of judges charged with investigating Israel's perceived defeat in the 34-day war, that he first discussed the possibility of war in January and asked to see military plans in March.

According to the Ha'aretz daily, which obtained details of Mr Olmert's testimony, the prime minister chose a plan featuring air attacks on Lebanon and a limited ground operation that would be implemented following a Hizbullah abduction. Hizbullah had made several attempts to capture Israeli soldiers on the border since Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000.

Israeli commentators believed that Mr Olmert and Amir Peretz, the defence minister, took the opportunity of the kidnapping to show they could manage a war in spite of their limited military experience. But the outcome of the war seemed to highlight their lack of experience and also deficiencies in Israel's military planning.

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