Fatah Versus Hamas: An Odd and Revealing Irony


News reports from The New York Times, the JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency), the Associated Press and other sources detail the fact that Israel has allowed entry to scores of Palestinians fleeing a Hamas factional crackdown in the Gaza Strip. Apparently taking advantage of the so-called period of “calm” which Hamas negotiated with Israel through Egyptian mediators, the radical Islamist organization has conducted a violent crackdown on Fatah, the “mainstream” Palestinian faction allied with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. For the past two weeks, Hamas and Fatah have engaged in a virtual civil war, with military assaults against one another’s units and allies and the wholesale arrest of Fatah leaders in the Gaza Strip, controlled by Hamas, and Hamas leaders in the West Bank, ostensibly controlled by Fatah.

In one of the attacks, Hamas gunmen last weekend attacked the Gaza City stronghold of the Hilles clan, described by the JTA as being “close to the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.” At least 11 people were killed in the clash, which was entirely between Palestinian Arab factions who could not find a way to blame Israel for the violence. JTA reports: “Fatah loyalists, still under Hamas fire, rushed to the Israeli border. Israel allowed in as many as 200 of the Palestinians.” At first Israel was going to return the Fatah escapees to the Gaza Strip, but decided against doing so when it became clear that they would then be subject to arrest and possible torture and execution if turned over to the Hamas terrorists.


Apparently, Palestinians feel safer in Israeli hands than they do under the authority of their fellow Palestinians. This phenomenon of Palestinians preferring surrender or escape into Israel to their fate at the hands of their fellow Arabs is not unprecedented.

Back in September 1970, after a failed Syrian-Palestine Liberation Organization attempt to overthrow Jordan’s King Hussein, hundreds of Yasser Arafat’s fighters threw down their arms and waded across the Jordan River to surrender to Israel rather than face the wrath of King Hussein’s Royal Jordanian Army which had routed the PLO forces.

So humiliating was that episode, the PLO called it “Black September,” and named one of its most violent factions Black September to avenge the humiliation. Of course Black September chose to exact its “revenge” against Jewish and Israeli targets, being responsible for the 1972 murder of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes and for the horrific murder of Leon Klinghoffer, a 74-year-old wheelchair bound passenger aboard the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro which it had hijacked.

It is not surprising that Palestinians feel safer in Israeli hands than being at the mercy of their Arab “brothers and sisters.” Both Fatah and Hamas have summarily executed hundreds of Palestinians if they are suspected of being “collaborators” either with Israel or with rival factions. In addition, the recent lopsided “prisoner exchange” Israel carried out with Hezbollah, in which Israel exchanged a vicious murderer and other terrorists with blood on their hands in exchange for the bodies of the two dead kidnapped Israeli soldiers, and other such actions, have sent a message to the Palestinians that they have a much better chance of being treated humanely and justly by the democratic State of Israel than at the hands of their own Palestinian enforcers. When Israeli leaders have proposed swapping some land with large Arab majorities to the Palestinian Authority, the Arab residents have strongly protested that they would prefer to be a protected minority in a democratic Israel than to be subject to the arbitrary dictates of the Fatah and Hamas regimes.

Critics of Israel like former President Jimmy Carter, who accuse Israel of being “horribly abusive” to the Palestinians, have been once again shown to be totally at variance with the clear facts. Time after time, Palestinians under fire from their fellow Arabs have shown with their actions that they trust the democratic State of Israel to provide them protection and justice, knowing full well that they would face arrest and possible torture and execution at the hands of their “brothers.”

We hope that these latest events will be kept in mind the next time Carter and other one-sided critics of Israel make their unfounded and inaccurate accusations against the Jewish State.

The facts speak for themselves.