The newspapers are filled with stories about the latest battle in the Arab-Israeli war, which started in 1948 but somehow is presented in our media as a fresh conflict. Hamas is described as a terrorist organization that has somehow occupied various buildings and rocket-launching sites throughout Gaza. In fact, Hamas is the legitimately elected government of all of the Palestinians, having won 76 out of 132 seats in a 2006 election (the Fatah party won only 43), as its Wikipedia article explains. Despite a military conflict with Fatah in 2007 (wikipedia), which resulted in the loss of power in the West Bank, Hamas supposedly remains the popular choice of the average Palestinian and overwhelming the choice of Gazans when it comes to political representation.
We don’t have to like what Hamas advocates or Hamas’s army does, but we should have the courage to accept their authority to speak and act for the Palestinians.
[Hamas is actually delivering on its campaign promises, which is more than most of us Americans can say for our politicians. Hamas promises in its charter to “raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine” and to fight against Jews (they can’t be fighting against the state of Israel because they don’t recognize the existence of the state of Israel and certainly they aren’t fighting against the 20 percent of Israelis who are Arab).]