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Who Will Govern the Palestinians?

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A highly complementary pair of stories appeared today about the war in the Gaza. All the talk about when and how Israel will wind down its “high intensity” offensive has encouraged Palestinians to think about their politics after the war ends. And thinking about their politics has led them to think about their leaders.

They are not wild about those leaders.

At the beginning of the war, notes the Wall Street Journal, Gazans’ support for Hamas increased. But only slightly: The respected Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki found the governing thugs’ approval at 42 percent, not exactly a ringing endorsement. “There is more questioning of the decision to go to war,” Shikaki says.

An internally displaced Gazan hairdresser puts it more colorfully: “May God be my witness: If I see Ismail Haniyeh, I will hit him with my slippers.”

Less entertaining but far more politically significant was this scene: “The spokesman for Hamas’s Interior Ministry was speaking on live TV in Gaza City last month when a passerby walked into the frame. ‘I complain about you to God, Hamas,’ he said, waving his bandaged hand in the air.”

Fear is all Hamas has at this point. If they lose that, they lose their grip. And the grumbling will only get louder as peacetime comes back into view and Hamas will be seen less as…



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