The saving grace about most extremist organization is that, well, they are so extreme that they make it hard even for dupes and fellow-travelers to sympathize with them. Case in point: Hamas. The Gaza-based terrorist organization is basking in new-found legitimacy by striking a power-sharing arrangement with the PLO. But how does Hamas react to the death of the world’s most wanted terrorist? Here is how one Israeli newspaper:
Hamas on Monday condemned the killing by US forces of Osama bin Laden and mourned him as an “Arab holy warrior” while Iran condemned “Zionist terror” and US sources said Saudi Arabia had refused to bury the arch-terrorist’s body. “We regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood,” Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, told reporters.
Hamas’s ham-handed response reminds me of the catastrophic mistake that Yasir Arafat made in siding with Saddam Hussein when Iraq invaded Kuwait. That blunder cost the PLO substantial amounts in oil money and forced it to the negotiating table. Hamas’s statement may not have comparable impact, but it certainly shows the self-defeating tendencies of fanatical terrorists. They tend to speak their minds where more prudent politicos would opt for silence.