When I visit Jerusalem and the West Bank, I frequently ask young Arabs about their views on Hamas. In almost every discussion, Christians and Muslims alike refuse to label Hamas as a "terrorist" organization
"When I raise criticism of Hamas and its targeting of innocent civilians, my comments never register. The responses are some variation of
"Israel has taken over our lands and killed thousands of Arab civilians over the years. Hamas is only resisting occupation and fighting for our rights."
Hamas benefits from that support. From radical Iran to moderate Tunisia, Hamas' Prime Minister Ismail Haniyyeh was welcomed by vast cheering crowds during visits this year.
In a new Middle East, where popular opinion matters more than ever before, to demand that people condemn Hamas is a political nonstarter"
The figures for October 2012 illustrate the point. ISAF's latest publicly-available data were released on Nov. 22 and cover the first 10 months of 2012.