The tidy Western view of Palestinian politics coming down to Islamists versus secularists faces yet another reality check. Both Hamas and the supposedly secular Fatah are engaging in a new propaganda war, each portraying itself as the defender of the faith, while accusing the other party of defiling Islam, according to a recent report from the Palestinian Media Watch.
While the competing videos represent just a recent snapshot of the bitter struggle between Hamas and Fatah for Palestinian hearts and minds, it is indicative of the increasingly Islamic tenor of the culture that each group is attempting to stake out the Islamic high ground.
Though some are quick to blame Hamas for this state of affairs, it is Fatah, at the original direction of famed secularist Yasser Arafat, who is most responsible for Islamicizing Palestinian society.
After showing the destruction of a Gaza mosque caused by Hamas gunmen, the Fatah video has a close-up of a desecrated Qur’an with a grenade and bullet shells on top, and asks the question, “Whose grenades are these?”
Fatah’s video even goes so far as to say that the Islamic Jihad terrorists killed in the attack were “martyred” by Hamas—terminology typically used to describe a Muslim who is killed by an enemy of Islam.
The video was released around the same time as an Hamas production that portrayed Fatah as rats removing women’s head coverings and literally burning Qur’ans. Rather than using actual footage, though, the Hamas video is entirely animated. The surprisingly professional cartoon features a hero, representing Hamas, that bears striking resemblance to Simba, the title character in Disney’s The Lion King.
After the Fatah rats dance in their money and fire rockets at mosques, the Hamas lion defeats the rats, then stands on a hilltop looking off into the distance, with a Palestinian flag flying nearby.
This latest tussle demonstrates that Hamas has improved impressively upon the tactics long utilized by Fatah.
Upon taking the reins of Palestinian society following the 1993 Oslo Accords, Arafat implemented an aggressive platform of Islamic indoctrination, beefing up Islamic education in the schools and giving new prominence on television and elsewhere to fire-breathing imams, including many who called for Islam to topple the West.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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