Hamas and Hizbullah Face Reform or Collapse

(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University) Orit Perlov - Discourse on Palestinian and Lebanese social networks over the past six months indicates a surprising trend. Violent resistance against Israel by Hizbullah and Hamas has lost its legitimacy in both Lebanese and Palestinian society. Both movements were founded in the 1980s as Islamic resistance movements based on the principle of violent struggle against the "Zionist occupation." Since the onset of the Arab Spring, these two movements have lost much of their political power, the support of Arab public opinion, and most important, their domestic support. There has been a shift in focus by Arab civil societies from outside to inside - from foreign policy to domestic affairs. Nationalism and Islamism have been replaced by a demand for democratization, rights, and freedom. Trend analysis of the social networks reveals that for the first time, the "enemy from within" (Hizbullah and Hamas) is regarded as more dangerous than the "enemy from without" (Israel). Civil society in Lebanon, including parts of the Shiite population, now reflects overwhelming opposition to Hizbullah's policy in Syria and Lebanon. In Gaza, Internet discourse reveals that for the first time, a majority of the population want to overthrow the Hamas regime. The writer, a research fellow at INSS, is the former co-editor of the Israel Foreign Ministry website in Arabic.

2013-10-09 00:00:00

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