Despite Repression, Hamas Survives in Shadows of Palestinian-Run West Bank

Is Islamist Group's Main Fight With Israel — Or Rival Fatah?

One-Faction State: Palestinians protest the high cost of living in the West Bank. The ruling Fatah faction keeps a lid on any opposition, especially from its Islamist rival Hamas.
getty images
One-Faction State: Palestinians protest the high cost of living in the West Bank. The ruling Fatah faction keeps a lid on any opposition, especially from its Islamist rival Hamas.

By Reuters

Published May 26, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 4 of 5)

In Silwad village in the West Bank, historian and Hamas supporter Awni Fares points to the rocky hills clustered with ancient olive trees where British colonial bases and Ottoman outposts once stood, long swept aside by history.

The PA’s inability to halt the spread of Jewish settlements in the West Bank or deliver a peace deal vindicates Hamas, which demonstrated its resolve in its latest war with Israel last November, said the bearded and bespectacled teacher.

“The sense is growing that through resistance, we can win,” Fares said. “Fighting occupation by any means is a right. You see Ofra settlement here? They attack us, they take our land. To us, Zionism is the worst kind of colonialism. It threatens our existence.

“There’s no room for a Gandhi here,” he added.

Fares has spent five years in Israeli jails and two months detained by the PA. He denies engaging in armed activity.


The PA’s rights body said 750 employees from public schools had complained of losing their jobs since 2007 for their party leanings, among many hundreds of other fired government workers.

Hamas’s West Bank rump takes moral high ground from its 2006 electoral victory, arguing that it was never given the opportunity to govern. Abbas has postponed elections for his own presidential post and extended his term for four years.

Idle in her Nablus office in the northern West Bank, Hamas legislator Mona Mansur sits beneath a portrait of her husband, a top Hamas political leader killed by an Israeli missile strike in 2001 at the height of the Palestinians’ Second Intifada.

“After gunmen burned down Hamas MPs’ offices in 2007, the security forces monitor visitors to my office. They even stopped and questioned a human rights lawyer,” she said.

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Find us on Facebook!
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover!
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.