Why Reward a Tired, Disliked Hamas Now?

Aaron David Miller makes some acute points about Hamas's status in Gaza:

As for Hamas, a nominally revolutionary organization, its message has grown old and tired. Against the backdrop of a largely young and secular Arab Spring, its Islamist trope isn't all that compelling any more. Nor was armed struggle ever a terribly resonant tactic if the goal was to improve the lives of Palestinians in Gaza. In fact, quite the opposite -- it had a Kevorkian death-wish quality to it, as revealed by Hamas's willingness to risk Israel's invasion of Gaza in 2008-2009. Hamas's leaders could have taken advantage of tensions with Israel along the border last month to go back to the battlefield. They wisely chose not to -- they know better now. You can't eat or pay for food with myths and symbols of struggle. Hamas's leaders are now worried, looking in the rearview mirror, and wondering how long it may take the Arab Spring to come to their portion of Palestine.


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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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