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Hamas condemnation of Bin Laden's killing: Bad PR

While Israel was observing Holocaust Remembrance on Monday, the US was celebrating the killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan, seen to be a huge success for the US Administration and a victory for the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The news certainly brought a very patriotic mood to New York, and according to New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, “New York City’s spirits has never been stronger.”

Hamas, fresh off its reconciliation agreement with Fatah, made a statement condemning the killing of what they call a “holy warrior.” Most Islamic countries have not made statements about the killing, however the Jerusalem Post reported that an anonymous official in Yemen expressed hopes that his death would “root our terrorism.”

Surely Hamas’ statement will not gain them favor with the US Administration, which has reiterated that they see it as a terrorist group whose unwillingness to recognize Israel is unacceptable. Hamas could have chosen to remain quiet with its discontent, or it could have expressed that it would have been better for the US to have brought him to trial – but it didn’t, so it has necessarily aligned itself with the more radical Islamic groups who have denounced the killing and even vowed its revenge.

It is perplexing that Hamas chose to do this at a time when the international community is hopeful for its potential to unite the Palestinians, moderate its positions and cooperate with the Palestinian Authority towards a peace agreement with Israel. Furthermore, I doubt that condemning Bin Laden’s death improves its standing among Palestinians in Gaza, who are more interested in jobs and security.

Maybe Hamas leaders think the stance will find favor with the countries that support them, such as Iran and Syria – but Syria is currently in hot water, and its government recently asked Hamas’s leadership there to leave the country due to its silence – seen as compliance – during the popular uprisings. Either way, as things look right now, Khaled Mashal will likely need to relocate and if Hamas wants to avoid being looked upon as another Mubarak or Assad, it is going to have to think about how to align itself – especially once it signs the reconciliation agreement with Abu Mazen on Thursday in Cairo.

As Israel continues to build itself the reputation of being obstinate and taking actions that preclude any chance for a two-state solution, Hamas has the opportunity to change its image to one of rationalism. While both American and Israeli authorities are on high alert fearing possible attacks in revenge of Bin Laden’s killing, it would be wise of Hamas to take the opportunity to concentrate more on ending the Occupation and building a Palestinian state for its people, than on not recognizing a country that already exists.

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Hi there,
      look at the killing of Osama Bin Laden I feel that is a fake new. Colonel Papas many years ago stated that Bin Laden was found died on December 13th 2001. In the same was the Obama’s speech at the West Point School: never was nominated Osama Bin Laden, but only Mullah Omar.
      Where is the true?
      Was Colonel Papas false or maybe this new news is an opportunity for Obama in the next electoral appointment?
      I am for this last chance!

      Reply to Comment
    2. Ben Israel

      Interesting how well-meaning Israelis appoint themselves as representatives of the Palestinians. Note the comment
      “it would be wise of Hamas to take the opportunity to concentrate more on ending the Occupation and building a Palestinian state for its people, than on not recognizing a country that already exists.”

      Who says HAMAS wants what you want? Who says you know better what their people want than they do? Who says you know what’s best for them? Remember they were “democratically elected”. The motto of the Jewish progressive Left:
      IT’S JUST GOTTA BE THAT EVERYONE IN THE WORLD WANTS WHAT I WANT AND THINKS WHAT I THINK”.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Amal A

      Haniyeh is a moron, and his statement is irresponsible and stupid. And many Palestinians are angry with him for making it. Wish the guy would shut up!!!

      Reply to Comment
    4. Joel Activist

      Have to say on this one you are trying a bit to Hard. Maybe the Leadership of Hamas was not thinking of its image and just speaking of what it believes. It supported Bin Laden and now morns his death – it shows them as antithetical to liberal values.

      I hope the moderates win out in Hamas but lets not infantalise them please

      Reply to Comment
    5. Ali

      Haniyya, is just like the bar bouncer, when He opens his cake hole. It’s a true tragedy that Palestinians have a Lieb of their own!!!

      Reply to Comment
    6. Noam

      I think you should consider the possibility that it isn’t PR, it’s Hamas – and that is what we have to deal with.

      This isn’t to say that they should necessarily not be negotiated with, or that agreements can’t be made with them. It does say something about their ideals though.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Isn’t it also likely that Hamas is facing pressure from the Salafists like the ones who killed Vittorio? To my knowledge, they have been quite critical of Al-Qaeda in past and have largely kept them out of Gaza and abstained from acting outside their immediate region.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Steven Gilbert

      Mairav the apologist. Haniyeh stated what he believes. Hear any outcry to the contrary? What? Isn’t there freedom of speech under the freely elected Hamas government. Guess the mourners in Silwan were also guilty of bad PR relations just as Hamas? Mairav, why don’t try reporting from the safety of Gaza? What, afraid the sound of outgoing might keep you awake at night?

      Reply to Comment
    9. max

      Mairav, “PR” – what a strange idea!
      Does it imply that when you state something it’s merely PR and not your real thoughts? Or that you’d rather calculate what not to say lest your PR will be damaged?
      How far are OBL’s ideas from Hamas’ charter, besides their global aspirations?

      Reply to Comment
    10. Noam S

      Steven, Haniyeh indeed may have stated what he believes. I’m willing to take that at face value. It’s still bad PR, from a pragmatic perspective, if your organization is looking to join a unity government that garners some international respect.

      Then again, judging from your emotionally charged tone, I suspect anything Mairav would have said would have set off your anti-leftist alarms. Your comments, stripped of their vitriol, are certainly legitimate, but take the bullying hatred elsewhere. It’s both cowardly and seriously unbecoming.

      Reply to Comment
    11. tenchlion

      Of course semantics are relevant, but why the crosshair-focus on the term “PR” in these comments? I’m an American and the way that the OBL “event” was presented on Sunday night was not so much as news but as just that—PR. To an absurd extreme. And we missed the end of “Celebrity Apprentice” for it! Obama upstaging The Donald!?
      The Hamas statement condemning the killing is an act of PR spin. It’s not so much whether the statement is “true” but what making it symbolizes in the political arena. All politics are public relations. And this statement was a bad PR move. Entire courses of history have been altered by lines like these, not just because of what they mean, but because, even when the assumption of this belief is present, there’s an additional level of chutzpah in saying shit to upset others.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Noam

      Techlion – the focus of the piece is on PR, that is why it is in the “crosshairs” of the comments here.

      Let’s talk about semantics – when we use the term “bad PR”, as opposed to a bad act, we usually intend, or at least hint, that the act itself isn’t so bad, but that it created a bad representation of a not so bad intention.

      I don’t doubt for a second that this is NOT what Meirav intended to say. But what a reader, at least this reader, reads between the lines is that this is just a bad slip of the tongue from a group that nows, or ought to know better.

      I find that a little too forgiving, because it assumes Hamas “knows” better, and had an “oops” moment that created bad PR.

      I don’t portend to “know how the Arabs think”, but I do take what they say at face value. And here they say, without mincing words, that they think OBL was a figure in whose footsteps they would like to follow.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Noam

      Techlion – the focus of the piece is on PR, that is why it is in the “crosshairs” of the comments here.

      Let’s talk about semantics – when we use the term “bad PR”, as opposed to a bad act, we usually intend, or at least hint, that the act itself isn’t so bad, but that it created a bad representation of a not so bad intention.

      I don’t doubt for a second that this is NOT what Meirav intended to say. But what a reader, at least this reader, reads between the lines is that this is just a bad slip of the tongue from a group that nows, or ought to know better.

      I find that a little too forgiving, because it assumes Hamas “knows” better, and had an “oops” moment that created bad PR.

      I don’t pretend to “know how the Arabs think”, but I do take what they say at face value. And here they say, without mincing words, that they think OBL was a figure in whose footsteps they would like to follow.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Yonatan

      Don’t forget Natanyahu said 9/11 was good for Israel – what’s the difference?

      Reply to Comment
    15. David

      When does Hamas ever make good PR?
      This is surreal piece of writing. Looking at Hamas’s Charter, I am lead to believe that Hamas would have had UBL leading from the front in case it ever came to Cast Lead II.
      “As Israel continues to build itself the reputation of being obstinate and taking actions that preclude any chance for a two-state solution, Hamas has the opportunity to change its image to one of rationalism.” National Islamism and rationalism/Enlightenment hardly make a likely couple.
      The author admits that “rationalism” has not had the opportunity to open its sleepy eyes within Hamas. Well, if it does, it better giddy on up, for rational thought processes are not made at news conferences and within societies that only have one election.

      Reply to Comment
    16. RichardNYC

      “It is perplexing that Hamas chose to do this”

      Its only perplexing to people who’ve become so accustomed to lying about Hamas’ territorial ambitions that they’ve come to believe their own propaganda

      Reply to Comment
    17. David

      @ RichardNYC
      I concur .
      It is pieces like these I love about 972. The revelation of all encompassing political misbelief. Good PR.

      Reply to Comment
    18. carrie

      “bad pr”?
      these are Islamists, what do you expect???

      Reply to Comment
    19. O.Selznick

      Wow. guys take it easy on Mairav here.

      Reply to Comment
    20. David

      @ Joelactivist

      You wrote ” Maybe the Leadership of Hamas was not thinking of its image and just speaking of what it believes. It supported Bin Laden and now morns his death – it shows them as antithetical to liberal values.
      I hope the moderates win out in Hamas but lets not infantalise them please”.
      This reads like Clockwork Orange. “…..it shows them as antithetical to liberal values…….but lets not infantalise them please.” Classic quote.
      I know the Italian who was hanged was infantalising Aza, that’s for sure. But he didn’t even try to open a hair salon for women as a man. They just hanged him anyway AND he had a passport. So infantile.
      I think I need some fresh diapers.

      Reply to Comment
    21. RichardNYC

      @O.Selznick
      why should I. She’s volunteering her opinion on a blog that has a comments thread.

      “it would be wise of Hamas to take the opportunity to concentrate more on ending the Occupation and building a Palestinian state for its people, than on not recognizing a country that already exists.”

      For its own sake, or for the sake of other “rights”? I can’t tell whether this is strategic or moral advice.

      Reply to Comment
    22. David

      The author unknowingly hits the nail on the head with “it would be wise of Hamas to take the opportunity to concentrate more on ending the Occupation and building a Palestinian state for its people, than on not recognizing a country that already exists.” The people ruled by Hamas are mere putty to be formed into their sub-fascist vision of an Islamic state. Hamas’s ‘state’ consist’s of all of core Israel. The author touches on her conundrum when she writes about ‘not recognizing a country that already exists’. Hamas’s entire identity is based on their violent struggle against the ‘Jewish-crusader’ occupation of Palestine. Mass murderers like bin Laden are an inspiration to Hamas fighters.

      Reply to Comment
    23. DT

      This is quite terrible. Hamas praises a murderer, calling him a holy warrior and the headline reads “Bad PR” rather than “morally bankrupt”, “evil”, etc.
      .
      Journalists at +972 condemn Israeli leaders for far milder statements. Perhaps the Palestinians should also receive moral criticism when it is due?

      Reply to Comment
    24. Piotr Berman

      DT: good catch! sometimes Israeli leaders make “much milder statements”. But then again, not always. Like, nobody explained why Likud charter is superior to Hamas charter. And statements of Israeli theocrats can be as vicious as if they were minted by al-Qaeda.

      Reply to Comment
    25. David

      Berman
      Please do not compare Hamas to Israeli democracy along with the Jewish part of the Enlightenment. It is cringeworthy.

      Reply to Comment
    26. max

      Wow, Piotr, hatred does make blind :) Comparing some “theocrats” (what do they govern to earn the title?) to the perpetrators of 9/11! Ugly instigation at its extreme

      Reply to Comment
    27. Jed

      YONATAN is a liar:
      Netanyahu was asked “what the attack meant for relations between the United States and Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, replied, ”It’s very good.” Then he edited himself: ”Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.” He predicted that the attack would ”strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.”

      Reply to Comment
    28. Jed

      And what does the “Palestinian Authority” Fatah really think about Bin Laden?
      Fatah’s armed wing:
      “The Islamic nation awoke to a catastrophe, the reports of the shahid [martyr’s] death of the sheikh, jihad fighter Osama bin Laden, in a treacherous manner, by the gangs of the heretics and those who stray,” the Aksa Martyrs Brigades said in a statement.
      “If bin Laden had indeed died as a shahid, this would not deter the resistance fighters from the path of jihad against injustice, oppression and occupation in the world.”
      —-
      http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=219040

      Reply to Comment
    29. richard Allen

      I really hate saying this, but Ben Israel is right. Not in any broad sense, as concerns his politics, but just in the narrow sense, with regards to his most recent comment. We want what we think is best (and we’re right), but it isn’t want Hamas thinks is best, and it isn’t what Ben Israel thinks is best, and maybe we need to accept that. Crazy religious people control the debate on all sides, and they are the majority in this region.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Piotr Berman

      Example of vile statements of Israeli theocrats: chief of military rabbinate instructing soldiers to show no mercy to the enemy during Cast Lead. This really framed the operation as a Holy War, kind of Mozaic (Toraic?) Jihad.

      Spiritual leader of one of the parties in the ruling coalition praying for the death of Abu Mazen.

      Avigdor Lieberman was quoted with a proposal to drawn Palestinians in Dead Sea. Not a theocrat, but a pillar of the ruling coalition.

      Which party in the ruling coalition has anything to do with Enlightenment? Likud is very much “Blut und Boden”, and this is the most moderate party in that coalition.

      Reply to Comment
    31. David

      Berman
      You really have no idea what you are on about.
      There are Parties to the left of likud in this coaltion. Your one track Israel hating mind needs to expand a little. You most likely don’t even reside in Israel.
      Go write at mondoweiss or EI , that is your level.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Dannecker

      Berman is absolutely right to hate israel. israel is our misfortune

      Reply to Comment
    33. max

      Dannecker is absolutely right. Hate is the ultimate excuse for ignorance and fabrication of false statements

      Reply to Comment
    34. paulnyc

      obl’s stated grievance with the west was among other things
      half a million dead iraqi children,
      considering that in revenge for an attack that killed 3000 human being the united states brought about the death of a million more, one would think that anyone who felt more solidarity with starving iraqi children than American technocrats have every right to mourn his death.

      morality is not a one way street.

      Reply to Comment
    35. David

      Those numbers, PAULNYC, are unfounded. There is no proof what so ever.
      Even the lefts new Porn, wikileaks only came up with about 108000 dead. Most of which were randomly killed by the locals with the good old car bomb. Remember? Al Quaida in Mesopotamia ?
      I mean leave the millions at home will ya? This ain’t mondoweiss.
      But since you are hungry for large numbers check out Darfur, 400.000++.

      Reply to Comment
    36. paulnyc

      well since its only 108000 dead, some how 1/6 the number quoted by the the lancet as of 4 years ago i guess its ok.

      and i did not say “killed by american solders”

      i said deaths brought about by america

      and i suppose you have no problem with Palestinian violence since it kills far smaller numberS than israeli violence

      Reply to Comment
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