Hamas must rebrand and take the wind out of Israel’s and America’s sails

By Stuart Littlewood

Littlewood calls on Hamas – indeed, on all Palestinians – to hone their long-neglected public relations strategy, arguing that “whoever rules in Palestine will never win any battles with Israel or the US without a proper media set-up and an effective communications strategy”.

In the five years since I became interested in the Palestinians, only two things of positive note have happened in the occupied territories.

The Palestinians held full and fair elections in 2006 to establish themselves as a democracy – and much good it did them.

And in Gaza these amazing people have resolutely survived a vicious land and sea blockade imposed by Israel and aided and abetted by the Western powers as soon as those elections put Hamas into government. They have resisted almost daily air strikes and armed intrusions for four years and courageously withstood the cowardly Israeli blitzkrieg of 20 months ago.

And during all that time they have endured unending barbarity and betrayal, which would have brought a lesser nation to its knees. They have come through.

I often wonder if the British could have clung on through the London blitz, which my family lived under, if they’d had nothing to fight with and nowhere to run and, in addition, they’d had to contend with Nazi tanks in the streets, thousands of checkpoints, Nazi rifle butts smashing down their front doors, and the foul stench of Nazi stormtroopers in their jackboots ransacking their homes and dragging off family members.

Palestinians have been put through that sort of mangle for decades. Death and misery still stalk their daily lives thanks to piss-poor Palestinian leadership and the international community’s moral bankruptcy.

When Palestinians elected Hamas, sore losers Fatah set out to cause maximum trouble. The relentless pressures of occupation and bribery succeed in causing internal divisions and self-destruction. When an attempted coup was beaten off there were claims that Hamas “seized control” when it simply acted to enforce its legitimate authority.

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