The Jerusalem Post:
Events of the past few weeks have allowed Hamas to show that it remains a major player in the Palestinian arena and is popular among the Palestinians.
Regardless of how the current round of fighting between Israel and Hamas ends, the Gaza-based terrorist group believes it has already managed to obtain a number of achievements, especially with regard to scoring points with the Palestinian public.
First, Hamas succeeded in hijacking the protests that erupted between Palestinians and the Israel Police in Jerusalem at the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan.
The protests over the police barriers at Damascus Gate, the planned eviction of a number of Palestinian families from their houses in Sheikh Jarrah and visits by Jews to the Aqsa Mosque compound on the Temple Mount have turned into large demonstrations in support of Hamas.When Mohammed Deif, commander of Izzadin al-Qassam, the so-called “military” wing of Hamas, issued a rare threat against Israel over the Sheikh Jarrah dispute, many Palestinians in Jerusalem began chanting slogans praising him and Hamas.
Second, Hamas’s decision to fire rockets at Jerusalem on Monday has enabled it to present itself as a credible “resistance” group
Hamas is prepared to do anything to support the Palestinians in Jerusalem and stop Israel from carrying out its purported scheme to “Judaize” the city and “change the historical and legal status” of the Aqsa Mosque compound.
Third, Hamas now appears, at least in the eyes of many Palestinians, as the only Palestinian faction that is willing to stand up against Israel to “defend” Islam’s third-holiest site
It wants to “thwart” Israeli “conspiracies” against the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem. This is at a time when the reactions of the Palestinian Authority and the Arab and Islamic countries are restricted to paying lip service to al-Aqsa Mosque and Palestinians in Jerusalem.
Fourth, by commandeering the Jerusalem protests, Hamas has drawn attention to PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s incompetence
In dealing with the crisi, Abbas is now being depicted by Hamas and other Palestinians as a weak leader who has failed to stop Israeli “aggression” on the Aqsa Mosque and in Jerusalem. Worse, the 85-year-old PA president is again being denounced by Hamas and other Palestinians because of the ongoing security coordination between the Palestinian security forces and the IDF in the West Bank. During some of the protests at Damascus Gate, Sheikh Jarrah and the Aqsa Mosque compound, many Palestinians chanted slogans condemning Abbas as a US “agent” and an Israeli “collaborator.”