By Adnan Abu Amer
While Hamas is celebrating its 35th anniversary, the resistance movement feels that it has reached the peak of its glory and achieved what any political group wishes to. Its rival parties have a mixture of feelings of disappointment and hatred that resulted from the failure of their schemes to destroy and uproot Hamas. At the same time, one should pay special attention to the following aspects of this resistance group:
1. Much to our surprise, Hamas annually celebrates its anniversary with a massive rally attended by huge numbers of Palestinians of all ages. Regardless of statistics released on the number of the Palestinians participating in Hamas’ festival of its anniversary, the growing popularity of the resistance group, especially in Gaza, poses significant questions about how Hamas could benefit from such popularity, amid expectations indicating that Hamas’ popularity has undoubtedly declined, at the Palestinian, Arab, and international levels.
Hamas’ ability to attract such vast numbers to take part in its annual celebration amid a suffocating Israeli siege on Gaza, while the Israeli Occupation insists on tightening its blockade on the coastal territory, even if it led to the extermination of all Gazans.
2. Due to the crippling Israeli siege on Gaza, the impoverished territory is experiencing dark ages, where the Gazans are denied their basic needs of life. However, the Palestinian people’s ability to stand steadfast has exceeded all expectations. Hamas, therefore, has to exert strenuous efforts to improve their living conditions in order to alleviate the humanitarian situation in the besieged enclave.
3. The huge crowds partaking in the Festival of Hamas 35th Anniversary pressure the resistance factions to uphold its national and political constants and assure the masses that the resistance would honour its promises and would not give in to threats.
Hamas has integrated with various segments of the Palestinian people, so one might find in every Palestinian family, at least, a supporter or a follower, let alone the active members of Hamas. Yet, Hamas should integrate itself with the Palestinian people, more than ever, at various popular levels in order to boost its popularity.
4. Throughout its life, Hamas persevered a smooth transition of internal positions without bringing the resistance movement into partisan rifts or organisational polarities.
However, taking over power in Gaza has influenced the structure of Hamas, as the resistance movement has moved from being an opposition party to being a ruling political one. Such move may surprise the Hamas supporters and flowerers when they see that the group’s leaders talking about the Road Map for Peace or the terms of the Quartet and expressing their willingness to meet previous US presidents and EU foreign ministers.
5. Such move will place a burden on Hamas, which requires its followers and supporters to brace for some losses and setbacks and to remind themselves that each political group has a ‘room to maneuver’ without making concessions on the national constants.
Analysts have discussed in-depth the historical setback for Fatah; some of Fatah members have admitted making compromises on national constants, including Fatah’s dominance over the Palestinian Authority institutions, above all the Central Council and the Revolutionary Council. Fatah was also shocked after Hamas scored a sweeping victory in 2006 legislative elections.
Finally, Hamas enters its 32nd year and it seems less vulnerable to be isolated from the political scene. Amid the serious challenges facing the resistance movement, Hamas has to be more aware when dealing with the party collaborating with the Israeli Occupation and less aware with the party supporting the Palestinian cause.