Written by Hudson Crozier
What’s happening: “Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people,” said President Joe Biden in response to the group’s terror attack on Israel this month. “Innocent Palestinians are suffering greatly because of them,” he added.
Why it matters: Though this sentiment is common, Hamas’s violent, antisemitic views are a deeper part of Palestinian culture and more reflective of Gaza’s population than Westerners will admit.
From the beginning: In 2006, Palestinians elected Hamas — a group that has called for genocide in its founding documents since 1988 — instead of the less radical Fatah party. Hamas won in a landslide with a 77 percent voter turnout. Since taking power, Hamas terrorists have paused elections in Gaza.
Indoctrination: Palestinian schools and entertainment programs teach children as young as preschoolers to commit violence against Jews, join terrorist organizations to overthrow Israel, become suicide bombers, and admire the actions of terrorist leaders throughout history.
- Remember: Sixty-eight percent of Gaza’s population is under 30, and almost half of all residents are children.
Public opinion: A poll taken after this month’s attack in Israel showed that 57 percent of Gazans hold a positive view of Hamas. Seventy-one percent approve of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a group considered more extreme than Hamas.
- Meanwhile, support for a “two-state solution” has declined from 59 percent to 24 percent since 2012, according to Gallup polling from this year.
- An extremist generation: The younger they are, the less Palestinians believe Israel has a right to exist, Gallup’s survey shows.
Bottom line: Hamas has seen dips in popularity in times of extreme poverty when Gazans felt their needs went ignored. However, the group’s violent, hateful ideals have largely been normalized in Palestinian society.