What motivated Hamas to publicize the names and photographs of its military leaders in the Gaza Strip including personal information? Why feature the time each commander spent in Israeli jails and in the Palestinian Authority jails next to their respective names?
In the wake of the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, Hamas is in crisis, for the group and its militant leaders have only ever spoken the language of violence and jihad (holy struggle). What does it have to offer at a time when Palestinians face the challenges of reconstruction and reform in the hope of achieving economic prosperity?
The latest communiqué from Hamas is full of sentiment but lacking in political content. It attempts to prove to the citizens of Gaza that Hamas and its leaders liberated the region whose pictures and names it highlights ignoring the sacrifice of other groups and the intifada led by the children of Gaza who do not belong to any political party.
Is the statement celebrating the victory of Hamas and its leaders whilst exposing them to the dangers of Israeli reprisals? Alternatively, is it alluding that the Islamic group is engaged in a struggle on several fronts by including the time spent in Palestinian jails? Or suggesting that Hamas has suffered at the hands of the occupier and the Palestinian Authority?
Clearly, the latest announcement by Mohammed Daif, head of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, intends to send a message to its fellow Palestinians that it is able to fight both Israel and the Palestinian Authority when it said, “We will not give up our weapons and will respond to all those who attack us, be that Israel or the Authority.”
Rhetoric alone does not make history. Instead, change is brought about by men who understand the language of their time. Ultimately, empty catchphrases, self- aggrandizement and claims to exclusively hold the truth are counter- productive.