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June 03, 2007

Meet the New "Bad Guy"

Stop the Presses! Here's breaking news from the front-page of the print edition of the International Herald Tribune Thursday:

The radicalization of the Palestinians; Qaeda-inspired groups fill a 'vacuum'

Of course, the Palestinians were radicalized long before global jihadi groups came on the scene, as seen by international hijackings of civilian aircraft in the 1970s, not to mention suicide bombings against civilian targets in the 1990s.

The article's author, Steven Erlanger, puts a new spin on the "'Good Guy' Fatah vs. 'Bad Guy' Hamas" approach when he writes:

Hamas and the smaller group Islamic Jihad have long made attacks on Israel and its occupation of Palestinian lands their main focus. While this has led many, including the United States and the European Union, to call them terrorist groups, Hamas officials say their fight is with Israel's occupation, not with foreigners.

By contrast, attacks on Western targets, and on America in particular, for its presence in the Middle East, have been the main stamp of Al Qaeda and similar groups.

Thus, Hamas the Bad Guy is supplanted by Al Qaeda the Bad Guy. It is fair to note the distinction between Hamas and Al Qaeda-type groups -- that Hamas' jihad is primarily Israel-centered, while the latter has a more global approach. Both both use extremist understandings of Islam to justify the targeting of civilians.

To suggest that the Palestinians were not "radicalized" until the introduction of Al Qaeda-type groups is absurd. Erlanger does so by obscuring the fact that

1) what Hamas calls the "occupation of Palestinian lands" refers to Israel within any boundaries;

2) Hamas attacks target civilians.

Posted by TS at June 3, 2007 02:21 AM


so if the palestinians only had a problem with Israel what were the hijackings of American,German,Swiss,British and so on airlines not to mention shootings in European airports all about?
This goes at least as far back as the 1970's if not prior.
Those actions seem "radical"to me.

Posted by: mbrandi at June 3, 2007 02:28 PM

Steven Erlanger also ignores the PLO kidnapping and murder of 14 Israeli athletes at the Olympic games in Munich in 1972.

Posted by: jw at June 3, 2007 04:43 PM

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