Monday, January 5, 2009

America's Hidden Role in Hamas's Rise to Power

No one in the mainstream media or government is willing to acknowledge America's sordid role interfering in Palestinian politics.

So goes the subtitle in this excellent essay posted recently in the U.S.-based website Alternet, written by Stephen Zunes, a professor of politics and chairman of Middle Eastern studies at the University of San Francisco, who serves as a senior policy analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus.

As we continue watching the horrific images coming out of Gaza, and the deafening silence of the U.S. political leadership regarding this illegal action carried out by the Israelis, I thought you might like to read this important piece that puts U.S. and Israeli policy into the proper context. Too bad our media continue to ignore this long and sordid history.

The article continues:Link
The United States bears much of the blame for the ongoing bloodshed in the Gaza Strip and nearby parts of Israel. Indeed, were it not for misguided Israeli and American policies, Hamas would not be in control of the territory in the first place.

Israel initially encouraged the rise of the Palestinian Islamist movement as a counter to the Palestine Liberation Organization, the secular coalition composed of Fatah and various leftist and other nationalist movements. Beginning in the early 1980s, with generous funding from the U.S.-backed family dictatorship in Saudi Arabia, the antecedents of Hamas began to emerge through the establishment of schools, health care clinics, social service organizations and other entities that stressed an ultraconservative interpretation of Islam, which up to that point had not been very common among the Palestinian population. The hope was that if people spent more time praying in mosques, they would be less prone to enlist in left-wing nationalist movements challenging the Israeli occupation.

For the entire piece, go to ALTERNET, and please, share it with your friends, if you haven't already!

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