VERY BAD HAMAS

NOVANEWS

Amira Hass reports—kind of—from Gaza, that the Hamas government broke up a PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) rally against making Gazan electricity supplies subject to a political battle between Fateh and Hamas. The PFLP does not put much credence in Hamas’s objections that Fateh is mostly at fault. From the (partial) research I’ve done on the topic, it is mostly Fateh’s “fault,” although ultimately it is neither Fateh nor Hamas’s fault.
It’s Israel’s fault because it is Israel’s job, according to the Geneva conventions, to take care of the needs of the occupied population. More disquieting still is that Hamas violently broke up the PFLP rally in Gaza City, coming hard after it raided a DFLP office (Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine) in Rafah a few days ago. This is hardly news—the government was not thrilled with PFLP/DFLP/PPP May Day rallies in Gaza, and is only reluctantly coming around to supporting non-violent protest in the border zones. Nor is this the first time that Hamas has violently attacked independent political action, even anti-occupation action.
Hass chalks this up to a fear of losing control, and that is part of it. A second aspect is sheer lack of creativity, alongside an authoritarian mindset; a third is that, installed in the institutions of governance, the population expects them to exert their responsibility, by fixing problems.
PFLP—an unfortunate adjunct in some ways to Fateh, because Abbas is in charge of their cash flow—and its activists are pissed off at Western solidarity activists for “romanticizing” the Hamas government. Hamas’s social support in April was plummeting, although it has lately surged back upwards, maybe a response to the government’s response to the massacres aboard the Mavi Marmara, juxtaposed with Fateh’s open collaboration.
But support for Hamas will only go so high if it follows its current policies, and the limits of its policies are limits imposed by the occupier. Those are limits also imposed by the responsibilities of governance, which is why some analysts from the Palestinian left call on Hamas and Fateh both to dissolve their governments. 
And the Left? There is some romanticization of Hamas, sure, as a resistance movement that plays hardball with the Israeli government. That’s understandable. What’s less understandable is any sort of solidarity between the left and the Hamas government (see: George Galloway).
There are better people to support, people loosely linked with leftist parties, NGOs engaged in local capacity building and educational work, groups with anti-authoritarian pedagogies, groups that aren’t misogynistic. Hamas is unpopular because it has been systematically starved of resources, and was never given a chance to govern by Israel and the West. But no one forces it to repress leftist rallies. It executes that screw-up all by itself.
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