The entire civilized world celebrates the death of Osama bin Laden. But that wouldn’t include Hamas. Reuters reports:
The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on Monday condemned the killing by U.S. forces of Osama bin Laden and mourned him as an “Arab holy warrior.”
“We regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood,” Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, told reporters.
Though he noted doctrinal differences between bin Laden’s al Qaeda and Hamas, Haniyeh said: “We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs.”
This is the mentality of one-half of the new Palestinian unity government. This is the crowd whom the “international community” expects Israel to recognize and to cede territory next to the Jewish state’s population centers.
But Palestinian boosters will point to the comments of the other half of the unity government:
“Getting rid of bin Laden is good for the cause of peace worldwide but what counts is to overcome the discourse and the methods — the violent methods — that were created and encouraged by bin Laden and others in the world,” Palestinian Authority (PA) spokesman Ghassan Khatib said.
So which is it — a government that sees eye to eye with al-Qaeda or one that rejects jihadist murderers? This is no doubt the beginning of an international rhetorical game: Hamas sounds the notes of jihadists, Abbas tells the West what it wants to hear, and Israel is chided for dismissing Hamas’s views and not taking Abbas’s on faith.
Some may suggest that this divergence over the ongoing war against the West is precisely what will doom a Palestinian unity government. Perhaps. But in the meantime, should we be funding and continuing to do business as usual with a Palestinian entity that can’t decide if killing Osama bin Laden is a good thing ?