On Sunday, Israeli officials discovered a tunnel 60 feet underground, spanning the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The so-called “terror tunnel,” as it is dubbed by Israeli authorities, has reignited a discussion of whether or not Hamas and its initiatives are truly supported by the people of Gaza. Noga Tarnopolsky, Senior Israel and Palestine Correspondent at the Global Post, joined HuffPost Live’s Ahmed Shihab-Eldin to discuss.
Following a conversation about the specifics of the tunnel, Shihab-Eldin introduced the idea that in the Western media there is "an equation" used to analyze Hamas.
“[In Western media] Hamas equals terrorism and Hamas equals Gazans,” he said. “It is a shame, because the Gazans, many of them who I speak to at least, don’t support Hamas. But there’s a climate of fear. They don’t feel like they could vocalize that.”
While Hamas is technically elected by a majority in Gaza, Tarnopolsky feels that the organization’s success is not a product of public support so much as it is the result of an absence of better alternatives. The people of Gaza, she asserts, are not consistently aligned with Hamas leadership.
“The distinction between the [people of Gaza] and this government is as huge as it is in any country,” she said. “The election of the Hamas government was a vey, very complicated one… It’s hard for me to say that the people of Gaza voted for a terrorist state.”
Further, she also attributes Hamas’ success to the organization’s misleading campaign promises.
"The election of Hamas was basically, in my opinion, an election for an alternative. And at the time, Hamas certainly tried to present themselves as purer and cleaner and much less beholden to material interests,” she said. “[But], Hamas has really shown itself not to be a lot less corrupt than [its predecessors] who were kicked out.”
Learn more by watching the full interview in the video above.